Arsenal and Liverpool set to battle it out for €57m Dortmund star
Published 04/01/2016 | 12:45
Borussia Dortmund have vowed to fight to keep hold of striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the Bundesliga's top scorer was linked with big-money moves to both Liverpool and Arsenal.
The 26-year-old Gabon international has scored 24 times in 23 games for Dortmund this season and has been linked with a move to the Premier League.
Spanish publication Don Balon reports that Jurgen Klopp's presence at Anfield, who knows the player well from his time at the club, could prove decisive if Aubameyang decides to leave Dortmund, with a fee in the region of €57m placed on the hot-shot striker.
The Bundesliga outfit have lost Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze to title rivals Bayern Munich in recent campaigns, but they have managed to hold on to Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan and Marco Reus when they were subjected to the same sort of speculation that is surrounding Aubameyang now.
Speaking to German newspaper Bild, Watzke cited Dortmund's ability to hang on to those players as proof they can keep Aubameyang in the Ruhr region.
"Where are they right now? Still here," he said.
"At this stage, Borussia are very much capable of making financially interesting offers to players. Add the sporting element and the BVB environment to it and we don't need to hide from anyone.
"We might not have as much money as the top stars in Premier League, but we can offer a lot of other things. For instance, our players were able to celebrate Christmas."
Dortmund, who finished seventh last year in Jurgen Klopp's final season in charge, currently occupy second spot behind Bayern during the German league's winter break.
Aubameyang is the division's leading scorer ahead of both Lewandowski and Thomas Muller, but Watzke does not think his club are overly reliant on their in-form forward.
"We can never believe that a club like Borussia Dortmund is dependent on a player; we are not dependent on anyone," he stressed.
"When Robert Lewandowski left, we found [solutions] and he even has three more goals than Lewa. We are now so well positioned that we can offer alternative solutions again and again."
Aubameyang only signed a new deal at the Signal Iduna Park over the summer and Watzke concedes interest in Dortmund's players comes with the territory.
"He's under contract until 2020," Watzke added.
"But those situations are not new for us. We've been one of the bigger clubs in Europe for the past five, six years. It's just normal that our players attract attention."