Arsenal are likely to intensify their efforts to sign Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after concluding the Alexis Sanchez-Henrikh Mkhitaryan transfer saga on Monday (22 January). Olivier Giroud is expected to play an important role in the outcome of the Gabon international's move to the Emirates.
The Gunners and Manchester United confirmed the swap deal after they unveiled Mkhitaryan and Sanchez respectively, which will now allow the former to focus on other targets.
Arsene Wenger confirmed that they are pursuing other targets, with Aubameyang said to be top of the priority list. The north London club have sent a three-man delegation which included CEO Ivan Gazidis, head of recruitment Sven Mislintat and contract negotiator Huss Fahmy to Germany to finalise a deal for the Gabon international.
The trio arrived in Dortmund on Sunday (21 January) to hold talks with their German counterparts over a move for Aubameyang. The Bundesliga club confirmed Arsenal's first offer, but the Premier League outfit are said to have bid below their €60m (£53m, $74m) demand. Reports later emerged revealing that the Gunners were willing to meet their asking price to conclude the deal.
However, according to the Daily Mail, negotiations have hit a stumbling block with Dortmund being adamant that they will only sanction the move if they get a readymade replacement for Aubameyang. The report claims that out of favour Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud is their first option and the north Londoners could be willing to include him as part of the deal.
The Frenchman, who is expected to return from injury later this week, has fallen down the pecking order and is keen to play regularly in order to maintain his place in the France squad ahead of the World Cup in Russia this summer. But the two clubs are reportedly hoping to negotiate Giroud's move in a separate deal in order to push through the Aubameyang deal without any delay.
Meanwhile, the Gunners are said to be confident of signing the Gabonese forward, who is reported to have already agreed personal terms with Arsenal, but they will have to match the German club's valuation in the coming days to get it over the line before the deadline — 23:00GMT on 31 January.
The 28-year-old trained with his Dortmund teammates on Monday (22 January), but boss Peter Stoger wants a solution sooner rather than later. The Bundesliga club play their next game on Saturday (27 January) against Stuttgart.
"Of course, we'd like there to be a resolution tomorrow, whatever it was," Stoger said on Monday, as quoted on goal.com. "Everything that is clarified does everyone good in their lives. But if it takes longer then it will take longer," he added.
"I cannot say if anything will happen in the next few days."