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Aubameyang could help Arsenal fans forget all about Alexis Sanchez

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could quickly help Arsenal fans forget all about Alexis Sanchez if the Gabon international does make the switch to the Emirates.

The Borussia Dortmund striker is one of Europe's top goalscorers, netting 79 goals in all competitions over the last two full seasons. That's 32 more than Sanchez managed during that span.

But the question for the Gunners is would Aubameyang actually work as a direct replacement for Sanchez? Or would he just step on the toes of record signing Alexandre Lacazette?

Here's a look at how Aubameyang could fit into the Arsenal side:

With or without Mkhitaryan?

The dream scenario for Arsenal is to reunite Aubameyang with his former Dortmund teammate Henrikh Mkhitaryan -- a duo that scored a combined 62 goals in their last season together. The Gunners want the Armenian as makeweight in the deal with Sanchez, although his agent Mino Raiola has said Mkhitaryan has yet to agree to such a move.

If Arsenal were to pull off both deals, it would leave Arsene Wenger with arguably a stronger attack than he had with Sanchez on the team. But he might have a dilemma when it comes to fitting both into the same side as Mesut Ozil and the aforementioned Lacazette.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's potential role at Arsenal depends on who would arrive with him.

The obvious solution would be to drop his back three formation for good, as it only leaves room for three attacking players. But reverting to his old 4-2-3-1 system would still force Wenger to push either Aubameyang or Lacazette out wide.

Both are capable of playing as wingers, although Lacazette may be the more natural choice when it comes to taking up Sanchez's old position on the flank. The taller Aubameyang also offers a bigger target to pick out in the box.

Either way, it would give Arsenal a front four that includes two of European football's best scorers and two of its best assist-makers -- at least as long as Ozil decides to stay at the club.

If Mkhitaryan doesn't make the switch to Arsenal, Wenger could turn to Bordeaux winger Malcom instead. But signing both Malcom and Aubameyang would leave him with the exact same conundrum.

Two up top?

If Aubameyang is the only attacker signed by Arsenal this transfer window, sticking with a front three may be Wenger's best option. But the same issue still remains; who plays alongside Ozil behind the striker, and who plays up front? There again, Lacazette may have to give way. The Frenchman was frequently used in the deeper-lying role by Wenger in preseason and should slot in fairly easily in Sanchez's former role in the back three formation.

A more radical solution would be for Arsenal to start playing with two strikers, having both Lacazette and Aubameyang up front.

That would be very un-Wenger like, though, as the Arsenal boss has rejected the idea of trying such a system in the past with Olivier Giroud playing alongside either Sanchez or Lacazette. But Aubameyang has shown he can co-exist with another central forward, playing alongside Robert Lewandowski at times during the 2013-14 season.

So at this point, Aubameyang's possible role at Arsenal likely depends on who arrives with him. One thing is clear, though: while he may replace the goals previously provided by Sanchez, he's a very different type of player.

Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.


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