Aubameyang's bad-boy reputation doesn't worry Arsene Wenger
LONDON -- Arsene Wenger isn't worried about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's bad-boy reputation, and hopes the striker's efficiency in front of goal can help offset Arsenal's defensive weaknesses.
Aubameyang became Arsenal's record signing this week in a £56 million move from Borussia Dortmund, which came after he fell out of favour at the German club for skipping a team meeting.
He is also known for a flamboyant lifestyle and reportedly broke club rules on several occasions at Dortmund. But Wenger insisted he has no concerns about the Gabon international.
"I don't [think] that is a problem. He spent four years in Germany, he had some problems since last year. And it was linked to the fact maybe that a transfer didn't work in the summer, and that he had not the same commitment anymore that he had before," Wenger said.
"I am quite confident that being a new challenge for him, overall that his behaviour [will be good]. I know him from France, he played at Saint-Etienne, he played at Bastia, and usually his behaviour was never a problem. He's a professional guy."
Aubameyang netted 141 goals during five seasons at Dortmund and will be expected to carry the scoring load for Arsenal as well. The Gunners have struggled to make the most of their chances this season, often dominating possession but failing to kill teams off before conceding through sloppy defensive mistakes.
Arsenal have scored 46 goals in 25 league games, while conceding 34. Among their top-six rivals, only Chelsea have scored fewer goals with 45 -- but Antonio Conte's team have only conceded 19. The two Manchester clubs have only conceded 18 each, with Manchester City scoring a whopping 73.
Wenger didn't sign any defensive reinforcements in January but is hoping a better attack will also lead to a better defence.
"When you say we conceded too many goals, we do not score enough goals. That is our basic problem. It's not only defensive, it's offensive. We did not score enough goals," Wenger said.
"That's our DNA. We are an attacking team. And the danger is, when you're an attacking team, that you don't score. Then you create your own problems."
Arsenal failed in their pursuit of West Brom centre-back Jonny Evans, and their only defensive signing was young Greek prospect Konstantinos Mavropanos. Meanwhile, Liverpool spent £75 million on Virgil van Dijk while Man City spent a club-record £57 million on Athletic Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte -- despite being 15 points clear in the Premier League table.
But Wenger defended the club's efforts.
"Look, defensive strengthening is a huge problem for everybody. Everybody looks for defenders. You could see again, you look at City, they buy again a defender. How much money did they spend on defenders in the last three years?" Wenger said.
"We don't have the financial power of Manchester City. And the fact that they conceded half the goals we conceded is as well down to the fact that offensively they are very powerful. And they have a lot of possession in the opponent's half that we have not."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.