Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang a gift to Arsene Wenger's successor at Arsenal
Arsenal may have finished in sixth place, some 37 points shy of centurions Manchester City, but there is still a lot that is appealing about the job of succeeding Arsene Wenger.
The Gunners have a fantastic stadium, a superb infrastructure and a talented if under-performing squad. Crucially, whoever takes over will also be afforded the opportunity to work with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The former Borussia Dortmund man has hit the ground running at Arsenal, and will be gearing up to make a major impact in 2018-19.
Wenger has presumably left Arsenal with plenty of regrets. However, ranked high among his frustrations will be the fact that he only had five months with Aubameyang at his disposal. He is precisely the sort of athletic striker that Wenger adores.
He has the same kind of blistering pace and nose for goal that made Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka such hits in the Premier League. On early evidence, Aubameyang does not have the technical mastery of Henry, but his predatory instinct is second to none. In 12 Premier League starts (and a single substitute appearance), he has already racked up 10 goals.
He's averaged a goal every 106 minutes. That's some ratio: by way of comparison, Harry Kane has scored every 103. It looks as if Arsenal now have a marksman as ruthlessly prolific as the one plundering goals for their north London rivals.
Aubameyang's blistering form since arriving in north London has largely flown under the radar. That's a direct consequence of the fact that Arsenal's domestic campaign has been dead in the water for several months now. For some time, it's been apparent the club were likely to finish in sixth.
Inevitably, interest waned and Wenger began prioritising their European exploits. Unfortunately, a quirk of UEFA rules meant that Aubameyang was cup-tied for Arsenal's Europa League campaign. That rule has since been abolished, but European football's governing body saw sense too late for Aubameyang.
How Arsenal missed him against Atletico Madrid. The Gunners frequently got to good positions on the byline, but found there was no-one waiting to prod home their cut-backs. That's exactly where Aubameyang excels: his movement is as good inside the six yard box as it is off the shoulder off the last defender. Arsenal knew they had signed a brilliant sprinter -- they didn't necessarily anticipate recruiting such an astute poacher.
He can provide, too. Since Alexandre Lacazette returned to fitness, Aubameyang has found himself stationed on the left wing. Some marquee signings might sulk at the prospect of being played out of position. Aubameyang has embraced the role, and sought to link with Lacazette whenever possible. Four assists is a very creditable return for a player who is primarily regarded as a goalscorer.
Aubameyang's fast start is, in fairness, what Arsenal should have expected. When you pay a club record fee for a player in their prime, it's not unreasonable to think there ought to be an immediate return. However, now Arsenal have Aubameyang, they need to ensure they make the most of him. He probably has two or three seasons remaining at his very best. It would be criminal to let those go to waste.
Conventional wisdom says that the best teams are built from the back. However, who takes over at Arsenal will presumably take the opposite approach. In Aubameyang and Lacazette, the new manager will have the building blocks for a brilliant attack. The difficulty now is to build a team that accommodates and supports them.
That's a challenge the new manager will surely embrace. There are few forwards as talented as Aubameyang in world football. If the new Arsenal boss can sort out the defence, he can take solace in the fact that the goalscoring potential in this team is huge.
Aubameyang may not have made many headlines this season, but he should be considered one of the main candidates to wrest the Golden Boot from Mohamed Salah next year.
James McNicholas is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter @gunnerblog.