Borussia Dortmund chief Hans-Joachim Watzke has laid down the law for any other player thinking about forcing a move out of the club after accusing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of 'withholding' performances to force a move to Arsenal in January.
The Gabon international became the Premier League club's record-signing, but the German club were not keen on letting one of their top players leave. Aubameyang was keen on to move after falling out with the club hierarchy. And now, Watzke has made it clear that they will not bow to players' demands again.
It was not the first such incident as Ousmane Dembele had gone on strike last summer to force a move to Barcelona. The French forward was granted the move, but he damaged his relationship with the German club permanently.
Watzke wanted Aubameyang to stay at least until the summer and revealed that he had committed to them to stay until the summer of 2018. He also accused the striker of 'withholding' his performances in order to force through a move during the recently concluded January transfer window.
However, the Dortmund CEO has warned any other player thinking of taking a similar route that they will be made to sit in the stands rather than being granted a move to another club.
"On Thursday, I laid it on the line for the squad — the next player who does something like that will fail miserably," Watzke told Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung, as quoted by the London Evening Standard.
"He'll run into major problems. The next player who tries to put us under pressure by withholding performances or even going on strike will not get a pass and will instead sit in the stands.
"They are all aware of it. This is now a public statement. Following Dembele and Aubameyang, there is now an overriding interest in the club — we need to get a better structure into our squad again," the German club's CEO explained.
"Aubameyang committed himself to us for this season, especially as a reaction to Dembele's transfer.
"But he also had the notion that we owed to him because in 2016 he opted for us and decided against very lucrative offers amid the departures of [Mats] Hummels, [Ilkay] Gundogan and [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan," Watzke added.