Saturday 14 December 2019

Speculation mounts over Arsenal move for Aubameyang as Dortmund leave striker out of squad

Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been linked with a move to the Premier League again
Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been linked with a move to the Premier League again

Mark Mann-Bryans

Arsenal target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been left out of Borussia Dortmund's squad to face Hertha Berlin on Friday as the German club believe he is "not fully focussed".

The 28-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium in recent days, although Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger would not be drawn on any potential deal when questioned at his press conference on Thursday morning.

Aubameyang was the Bundesliga's top goalscorer last season as he finished the campaign with 31 goals and has hit 13 in 15 games so far this year.

The Gabon striker has been suspended twice by Dortmund this season for disciplinary reasons and sporting director Michael Zorc revealed on Thursday that he will not travel to Berlin on Friday night.

"He will train in Dortmund," Zorc said.

He added on the club's Twitter account: "We have the impression at the moment that he has his head on other things and is not fully focused."

Wenger, who is expecting to lose Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United with Henrikh Mkhitaryan coming the other way in an exchange deal, upset the Dortmund hierarchy when he spoke about the links with Aubameyang ahead of Saturday's visit of Crystal Palace.

"I have nothing to add to that," Wenger said when asked if the player could be on his way to Arsenal.

"These kind of things, it's better when it's secret and when you don't come out on it, and when you announce it when it's over the line."

Asked about Aubameyang's character given his recent disciplinary issues, Wenger added: "Character can be a very positive note and it can be a very negative note.

"I believe overall you look at the achievements of a player during his career and usually, when a career has been very positive, the character has been used in a positive way."

Zorc responded by aiming criticism at Wenger and said the Frenchman had overstepped the mark with his comments.

"We consider it disrespectful to speak about players from other clubs," Zorc said.

"There is no contact with Arsenal. We assume that Wenger has enough to do dealing with his own players."

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