Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could hardly send a clearer message to the Arsenal board – he is the club’s most important player. His two-goal display followed up a semi-final brace and put him on 29 goals for the season.
While Arsenal finished eighth in the Premier League after a turbulent campaign, without Aubameyang’s 22 top-flight goals – which helped earn 19 of the north Londoners’ 59 points – it would have been a lot worse.
And although the FA Cup triumph over Chelsea was not solely down to Aubameyang, it’s quite clear that without him – Arsenal might not have even been playing in the Wembley showpiece.
Dpeculation over his future is now set to rumble on, with Mikel Arteta confident of a new deal but the striker himself coy to the cameras, but one statistic has come to light that puts a very bold underline on the Gabon international’s quality.
The 31-year-old – whose second against Chelsea was one of sheer brilliance, skinning Kurt Zouma before lifting a left-footed dink over Willy Caballero in goal – is now on 70 goals in 109 games across all competitions at the Emirates, added to 15 assists.
But far more impressive than that is that Aubameyang is one of just four players to score more than 25 goals in each of his last six seasons, across his time for Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund.
The other three to boast such sensational returns are Barcelona icon Lionel Messi, Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo – formerly of Real Madrid – and Robert Lewandowski at Bayern Munich, with Aubameyang eventually succeeding him as Dortmund’s chief goalscorer.
The prolific African has only managed less than 16 league goals in a campaign once since 2011-12, when he mustered 13 in his first season with Dortmund in 2013-14.
That free-scoring stint also includes his seamless transition to England. After scoring 13 goals in 16 Bundesliga games in the first half of 2017-18, he racked up 10 in 13 in the Premier League from January until May.
And the fact he ranks only alongside elite goalscorers such as Messi, Ronaldo and Lewandowski in achieving such a feat truly further shows his world-class status.
His career goalscoring record now reads 264 goals in 503 appearances – a record better than one in every two games.
That consistency over his career should help to address any fears Arsenal may have about hanging a big-money deal to a striker who will turn 32 next month.
Aubameyang is thought to want £250,000 a week to stay at Arsenal and put up with the lack of Champions League football.
But the goalscoring statistics surely show that the talismanic frontman is worth that money – even if there are some concerns his productivity may drop off, as Mesut Ozil’s has since being given a new deal in January 2018.
In the 28-year history of the Premier League, only Thierry Henry (121), Harry Kane (120) and Sergio Aguero (107) have a better minutes per goal ratio than Aubameyang’s 128.
And only Henry has a superior goals per game ratio for Arsenal in the Premier League era.
The Frenchman averaged a goal every 0.68 games, with Aubameyang’s 0.64 perhaps even more impressive given he has played in far inferior teams to the title-challenging sides Henry starred for.
Aubameyang did beat Henry earlier this season by becoming the fastest Gunners player ever to reach 50 goals since 1992.
His brace against Norwich meant he reached a half-century of league goals in four fewer games than the Londoners’ all-time top goalscorer, doing so in just 79 matches.
And as the FA Cup final showed, Aubameyang would be worth every penny of a potential three-year new deal. Especially if he can fire Arteta and co. back to the Champions League next year.