Arsenal’s pursuit of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks set to go down to the wire as the clock ticks on the January 2018 transfer window.
Press Association Sport understands a deal has been agreed in principle between Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund for the Gabon forward, who is reportedly already in London to finalise a potential £60million switch.
However, Dortmund remain determined to first secure a replacement before signing off on Aubameyang’s departure.
With the German transfer window set to close at 1700 on Wednesday, significantly earlier than in England, there could yet be some last-minute negotiating between a number of parties to push the Aubameyang deal through.
Chelsea have emerged as leading contenders to sign Olivier Giroud, who would fall further down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium were Aubameyang to come in.
Dortmund were said to have been keen on the France forward, but it now appears Stamford Bridge is Giroud’s preferred destination, allowing him to remain in London, with a fee of around £18million suggested.
Giroud started on the bench for Arsenal’s Premier League match at Swansea on Tuesday night.
That in turn could then see Michy Batshuayi clear to join Dortmund, thus giving the Bundesliga club the replacement striker they wanted ahead of the deadline.
Blues boss Antonio Conte, though, stressed Belgium forward Batshuayi may yet feature in the Premier League match against Bournemouth on Wednesday evening – which would throw up another knock-on effect to any potential transfer merry-go-round ahead of the 2300 deadline.
Chelsea are also said to be in the market for some defensive cover, which should arrive in the shape of Emerson Palmieri of Roma. Later on Tuesday evening, pictures emerged on social media appearing to show the Brazilian posing with a Chelsea shirt, numbered 33, alongside club director Marina Granovskaia.
Olivier Giroud has travelled with the Arsenal squad to Swansea despite reports that he will join Chelsea on Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/OpIccGbn7J— Phil Blanche (@philblanche) January 30, 2018
On Tuesday, Premier League leaders Manchester City moved to strengthen their squad with a club-record signing of defender Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao.
The 23-year-old, a France Under-21 international, has joined City on a deal until 2023 which is understood to have cost some £57m.
City boss Pep Guardiola, though, could yet look to push through some more late business, as Press Association Sport understands there is interest in Leicester playmaker Riyad Mahrez.
There is interest from Man City in Mahrez but no offer made. Leicester have no intention of selling and it would take a bid in excess of the Van Dijk Â£75m for them even to consider it— Andy Hampson (@andyhampson) January 30, 2018
Guardiola was, however, giving little away as he faced the media ahead of City’s Premier League match against West Brom.
Asked if there was any likelihood of further signings before Wednesday’s deadline, Guardiola said: “I don’t know. I don’t think so, but in football everything can happen. I am 95-99 per cent that nothing is going happen.”
Tottenham, meanwhile, should complete the £25m signing of Lucas Moura from Paris St Germain. The Brazilian arrived at Spurs’ Enfield training base on Tuesday morning.
Whatever business does get completed, Chelsea manager Conte has been left less than impressed by having Premier League games on the same day as the transfer window closes.
Conte says it is not right to have fixtures scheduled on the transfer deadline day. He adds that many coaches feel the same.— Chelsea FC (at 🏡) (@ChelseaFC) January 30, 2018
“I think for sure that it’s not the best situation to prepare a league game against Bournemouth, but there are these types of situations you must be prepared to face,” the Italian said.
“My only hope is to finish very soon this transfer market, especially because in this way you can change the questions for me.”