Borussia Dortmund have indicated they are prepared for the departure of striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, amid speculation that Arsenal will launch a £42m ($62m) move for the Gabon international. The 26-year-old has scored 18 Bundesliga goals in 17 starts this term and is among the hottest properties in Europe.

The Sun understands that the North Londoners – despite having Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott fit and available – want to add to their forward line in the January transfer window. Danny Welbeck has not played since last April due to a knee injury.

Victory over Newcastle United saw Arsenal go two points clear at the top of the Premier League at the start of 2016 and manager Arsene Wenger – though appearing to be coy over his business during the January mercato – is understood to be privately plotting one of the biggest deals of the window. An intermediary is believed to be holding talks with Dortmund regarding a deal, but the German club's chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke is seemingly unperturbed.

"One must never make the mistake to believe that a club like BVB are dependent on a player. We are not dependent on anyone," Watzke told Bild when questioned about the prospect of Aubameyang leaving for Arsenal. "When Robert Lewandowski left, we found [a solution] and [Aubameyang] even has three more goals than Lewa. We are now so well positioned that we can offer alternative solutions again and again.

"[The goal is that] our team stays together. We do not have as much money as the top stars in the Premier League, but we have a lot of other things to offer – for example our players were able to celebrate Christmas.

"Last year around this time, many journalists wrote that our top players would be gone. [Mats] Hummels was at Manchester United. [Ilkay] Gundogan was with [Real] Madrid or Barcelona. And where are they now? Still with us!"

Sky Sports understands that Arsenal are on the verge of completing their first signing of the January window in the shape of Mohamed Elneny in a £7m deal from Basel. The Egypt international is yet to undergo a medical or attain international clearance, so he is not expected to sign in time to face Sunderland in the FA Cup third round on 9 January.