Arsenal will have no choice but to sell Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang if he refuses to sign a new contract, says Ray Parlour, but a Gunners legend still hopes an extended stay can be agreed.
As things stand, a prolific Gabonese frontman continues to head towards the final 12 months of his current deal.
Despite his obvious value and importance to the cause at Emirates Stadium, Arsenal cannot afford to see a prized asset drift towards free agency.
With another transfer window about to open, a big decision needs to be made in north London.
Discussions regarding fresh terms will continue to be held with Aubameyang, which could yet reach a positive conclusion, but the ambitious 30-year-old may decide to take on a new challenge elsewhere – with Real Madrid and Manchester United said to be among his suitors.
In that scenario, Parlour admits that the Gunners will have to sound out potential buyers and try to get the best possible price from a sale that they would rather not sanction.
The former Arsenal midfielder told talkSPORT:
“I think you’ve got to sell him if he doesn’t sign a contract, and then take the money and try to replace him.
“It’s really difficult to keep a player if he doesn’t want to stay.
“It’s a big decision to make, but I don’t know what sort of money you could get for him if he doesn’t want to stay. If you get a good fee for him then you have to try and go out and replace him.
“That is difficult, but it has happened at every single club when players come to the last year of their contract.
“I’m praying that he wants to stay and Arsenal can sign him on a new contract and he can be there for the next two or three years under [Mikel] Arteta.
“It all depends on the manager as well, if they get on, and also if he feels the club is going forward.
“That is the big decision the club have got to make, but hopefully he stays.”