Arsenal have made an opening bid, reported to be in the range of €50m (£44m) in their attempt to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund as the transfer saga involving Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan drags on. The Chilean is close to completing a move to Manchester United as the Gunners look to add more firepower up front to compensate for the forward's absence.
The German club's CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has confirmed the Gunners have made a bid for the 28-year-old. "I can confirm that there has been a first request from Arsenal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang,' he told Dortmund-based newspaper Ruhr Nachrichte, as quoted by the Express. "We are not commenting on the sums that have been called from England since noon today."
German publication Kicker reports that Arsenal have to pay at least €60m (£54m) for the transfer to go ahead for a striker who has scored 21 goals already this season in 23 games and has also scored at least 25 times in each of the past three seasons. The north London club are reported to have already agreed personal terms with the forward.
The Gabonese forward was expected to return to the squad for Dortmund's 1-1 draw against Hertha Berlin on Friday (19 January) after Peter Stoger revealed that he was back in training. But the striker was not included in the squad and was left behind in Dortmund after it was revealed that he was not in the right frame of mind to play at the weekend.
The Gunners have already completed the signing of Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos while allowing the likes of Theo Walcott and Francis Coquelin to leave for Everton and Valencia respectively.
Meanwhile, the Gunners made easy work of their game against Crystal Palace on Saturday ( 20 January), crushing Roy Hodgson's men 4-1 at the Emirates. Alexandre Lacazette, Alex Iwobi, Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny all got on the scoresheet as Arsenal dispelled talk of a frustrating afternoon without their talismanic forward.
Wenger confirmed that Sanchez had travelled to Manchester but made it clear that the deal will only happen if Henrikh Mkhitaryan was part of the deal to join the Emirates.
"I didn't play him [Sanchez] because there is the question of him moving to Manchester United. He could not drive up north and as well play football. That's difficult. So that's why I decided to leave him out," Wenger confirmed in his post-Palace press conference.
"I expect it to happen, maybe. But I cannot announce it. In the next 48 hours, it will be decided one way or another. With these kind of things, as long as it is not over the line, you cannot say that it will happen. The negotiations become more and more longer and edgy as well because every detail becomes public nowadays. I cannot say it will happen or not happen. If you want to have a bet... it could happen."