Monday 23 July 2018

Arsenal step up interest in Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Wire
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Photo: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Matt Law

Arsenal are in talks to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after Sven Mislintat, the club's new head of recruitment, assured the club that they will not be getting a bad boy.

Mislintat recommended the prolific striker, who he helped to sign for Borussia Dortmund in 2013, as Arsenal contemplate how to replace Alexis Sanchez.

Arsenal have been chasing a £40 million (€45m) deal for Bordeaux forward Malcom, but Aubameyang has emerged as their top target with Sanchez on the way out.

Everton are also increasingly confident they will sign Theo Walcott for £20m (€22.5m), as talks progress well with Arsenal.

With Bordeaux reluctant to sell Malcom this month and holding out for big money, Arsenal are more hopeful of clinching a deal for Aubameyang, who Dortmund are prepared to sell for around £50m (€56m).

Aubameyang has encountered several disciplinary issues this season after failing to clinch a move away from Dortmund last summer.

The latest clash with his club came at the weekend, when the 28-year-old was left out of the squad against Wolfsburg.

Michael Zorc, the general manager, said: "What is going on now 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. There is trouble in the team and that is not good."

Aubameyang's disruptive reputation set off some alarm bells inside the Emirates, but it is understood Mislintat, who worked as a scout at Dortmund for 10 years, has given the Gabon international a positive character reference.

Mislintat is believed to have assured Arsenal that Aubameyang is hard-working and dedicated and that his issues at Dortmund are not reflective of his normal personality.

There are certainly no doubts over Aubameyang's ability, as, even with his problems off the pitch, he has scored 21 goals in 24 appearances this season.

Even with the expected exit of Sanchez, Arsenal's move for Aubameyang comes as a surprise after the club signed Alexandre Lacazette for a club-record £46.5m just five months ago.

Lacazette has scored eight goals this season and has not netted since the start of December. But Arsenal believe he will benefit from competition for his place and is also capable of partnering Aubameyang.

Aubameyang's arrival would be a blow for Olivier Giroud, but Dortmund may try to take the Frenchman in the opposite direction.

Giroud has admitted he was close to joining Dortmund last summer but the German club pulled the plug because Aubameyang stayed.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who Mislintat scouted for Dortmund, is wanted by Arsenal if Sanchez decides to join Manchester United.

Telegraph.co.uk

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