LONDON - Arsenal’s £55million signing of Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will only be sanctioned once London rivals Chelsea secure Olivier Giroud and loan out Michy Batshuayi.
In a complicated chain of sale, Dortmund insist they will only sign off the 28-year-old Aubameyang’s release once they have a replacement. They have targeted Batshuayi on loan and Chelsea will agree to that if they can sign Giroud.
Last night it looked as if Chelsea were using that to try to drive down the price for the Frenchman. Chelsea have offered £15m plus add-ons but are still short of Arsenal’s £30m valuation as the Gunners demand a premium price for selling to their London rivals.
Once a deal for Giroud is in place, Chelsea will allow Batshuayi to sign for Dortmund on loan, subsequently triggering Aubameyang’s release to London.
Last night the Gabon striker withdrew from appearing as a witness at a court case to try a man suspected of targeting Dortmund’s bus with three bombs last April. Officially, Aubameyang is sick and cannot attend and Dortmund have given him permission to stay away.
Aubameyang is preparing to fly into London to become Arsenal’s club-record signing. He will also become the best-paid player in the club’s history on a three-and-a-half-year contract worth £180,000 per week.
The move for the explosive striker has been driven by Arsenal’s recently appointed head of recruitment Sven Mislintat. Aubameyang does not fit the usual profile of player the Gunners have tried to sign in recent years.
At 28, he is likely to have little resale value. Similarly, his bad-boy reputation represents a shift from the type of personality the club have targeted under Arsene Wenger.
In the meantime Chelsea believe they are closing in on Giroud, 31, and talks are expected to progress over the next 24 hours.
The clubs have to agree on the deals before Wednesday's 11pm deadline, which is further complicated by a full Premier League programme of fixtures.
Chelsea have turned to Giroud after abandoning plans to sign Roma’s Edin Dzeko, who demanded a three-and-a-half-year contract and high wages.
The Champions have agreed to sign left back Emerson Palmieri, 23, from Roma for an initial £17.5m. The defender will sign a four-year deal worth around £80,000 a week.
They expect to land Giroud, who has the added bonuses of being able to play in the Champions League and the FA Cup, while he is also settled in London.
He is highly motivated to push Alvaro Morata for a starting place as he wants to press his claims to make France’s World Cup squad this summer.
Arsene Wenger has a good relationship with his compatriot and does not want to stand in his way of progressing despite the rivalry with Chelsea.
The Arsenal manager and his striker were pictured in detailed discussions at the club’s training ground on Monday afternoon.
Aubameyang’s arrival means Giroud will have even less starting opportunities and Wenger recognises his desire to play.
Dortmund did ask about signing Giroud too as part of negotiations over Aubameyang but only wanted the Frenchman on loan.
Meanwhile, Chelsea left back Baba Rahman has officially re-joined Schalke on an 18-month loan deal and midfielder Charly Musonda, 21, has joined Celtic on an 18-month loan.