LONDON - Arsenal are pressing ahead with a shock £53million move for Borussia Dortmund bad boy Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
After Arsene Wenger’s initial apprehension towards a move, Arsenal are now working to complete the deal for the Gabon striker who would replace Manchester United-bound Alexis Sanchez.
In hints of a power shift at the Emirates, Arsenal’s newly appointed head of recruitment Sven Mislintat is understood to be behind the latest move. He played a key role in bringing Aubameyang to Dortmund in 2013, ironically beating Arsenal to his signing.
Wenger has harboured reservations about the striker but Mislintat believes Aubameyang will respond to a change in environment.
Dortmund are open to selling Aubameyang this month after he fell out with the club’s top brass. He was left out of the weekend draw with Wolfsburg for missing a team meeting.
He was also dropped last year for an unauthorised trip to Milan and was also absent for a match earlier this season after flying off to Barcelona to visit former teammate Ousmane Dembele.
Dortmund’s general manager Michael Zorc said: "What is going on is not to be tolerated. It cannot go on like this. I don’t know what is going through his mind. I don’t recognise him any more."
The fact Aubameyang is 28, leaving little hope of significant resale value, left members of Arsenal’s hierarchy unconvinced. Likewise, having signed Alexandre Lacazette in the summer for a club record £52m, questions were asked over whether another central striker was necessary, but Arsenal are ready to take a chance.
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud could become a variable in the move. Dortmund tried to sign him in the summer but Giroud decided to stay in London. However, Aubameyang would push Giroud down the pecking order and the opportunity to play regularly football for Dortmund – in a World Cup year – may suit Giroud.