Yesterday, we brought you word from The Sun that Arsenal was planning on making a bid for Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, contacting the club through an intermediary about their intentions on spending upwards of £42 million for his services. Today, German sports publication Bild published quotes from Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke that further puts Aubameyang's long-term future with the club up in the air.
"We can never believe that a club like Borussia Dortmund is dependent on a player," he told German newspaper Bild. "We are not dependent on anyone.
"When Robert Lewandowski left, we found [solutions] and he even has three more goals than Lewa. We are now so well positioned that we can offer alternative solutions again and again.
"[We want] our team to stay 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."
All of this is technically true, and while I disagree with the essential basis of his opinions it doesn't mean that Aubameyang's any closer to joining Arsenal -- or any other club, for that matter.
For starters, the man who brought in both Lewandowski and Aubameyang - Jürgen Klopp - has jumped to Liverpool and been replaced with Thomas Tuchel. While it's clear that Tuchel's has quickly found his footing in Dortmund - he and the club are currently second place in the Bundesliga table, but eight points adrift from leaders FC Bayern Munich - the book is still very much far from written regarding his ability to bring in the caliber of players that his predecessor did.
Further, if the one selling point on staying in Dortmund versus going to the EPL you trumpet to the masses is that players at your club and in your league get a Christmas (winter) break, then you're basically admitting you don't have that many rational reasons to offer your players in staying. The EPL is bursting at the seams of players who've come from the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, and other leagues where there are winter breaks. The lack of time off hasn't prevented the influx of transfers, and it won't going forward.
All that said, this is still not something that we should consider if we're looking to place bets on a Aubameyang transfer. Dortmund's not in second place if Audabayeng's not scoring goals at a record pace, after all. Hans-Joachim Watzke might talk a good game, but if I'm Tuchel I go into his office screaming and kicking to prevent this move from happening. And in transfer rumors' past, Dortmund have largely managed to hold on to their players who were linked with non-Bayern Munich clubs. They enjoy some of the best fan support in all of Europe, and unless something significant happens they'll be back in the Champions League next season.
Who knows, though? £42 million is a lot of damn cash and while Dortmund's the kind of club that has money, they don't have the kind of money that they can quickly thumb down a fee of that nature. Maybe Watzke is right, that they can replace Aubameyang's production at a fifth of the cost. There's just still so much more that has to happen to start even considering putting the puzzle pieces into place.