Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's departure from Borussia Dortmund has taken a step closer after Borussia Dortmund admitted an offer of €80m [£68.5m] would trigger talks over the future of the Gabon international. Eleven-time European champions Real Madrid and Premier League duo Arsenal and Manchester United have been linked with moves for the 27-year-old who himself has indicted he may leave the club this summer.
Aubameyang is regarded as one of the hottest strikers in Europe, and has already netted 20 times this season. The ex-Saint-Etienne frontman will return to his club side this week after Gabon were knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations at the group stage – but they may not feel the benefit of his services for long.
Despite Aubameyang having hinted that he will join Real upon leaving Dortmund, Arsenal lodged a €90m offer for the player during the last summer transfer window. The bid was rebuffed, but in a bizarre turn of events the club appear to have reduced their financial demands.
"We can never guarantee that a player will stay with Borussia Dortmund forever, but our strength is to always find new solutions," sporting director Hans Joachim-Watzke told Kicker TV, according to Sky Sports. "With an €80m offer, I would be thinking about [club president Reinhard] Rauball and [sporting director Michael] Zorc. If we had one (an offer), we would have to get together with Pierre-Emerick. We always have to differentiate between situations where there is such an offer, but we have no pressure. I would prefer it if no offer came."
Though manager Arsene Wenger has never confirmed an offer was lodged for Aubameyang, it is generally perceived that Arsenal are lacking a front-line forward to help them challenge regularly for silverware. Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez have been rotated at the head of the attack this term, but neither have been able to inspire a title push.
If Arsenal do indeed have any ambition of luring Aubameyang to north London then they face having to convince the player to snub a move to Madrid; where he appears destined to move. Aubameyang made the promise to his grandfather that he would move to Spanish capital and that remains his number one priority.
"Yes [I still want to play for Real], it's a promise I made to my grandfather," he told beIN Sports, as quoted by Goal, when asked if he would consider signing for Real. "Right now I feel very good at Dortmund but in the future we'll see. We don't mind who we play. At half-time we talked about how we all knew we could do something and we did very well in the second-half."