Arsenal are preparing to make Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the highest-paid player in their history as they close in on an agreement to sign the Borussia Dortmund striker, reports Standard Sport’s James Olley.
The Gunners have made a third offer for the 28-year-old understood to be worth an initial £55million with around £5m in add-ons as they seek to secure an agreement before Wednesday night’s deadline.
Dortmund are yet to formally accept an offer and Aubameyang has indicated he wants a salary higher than the £170,000-a-week agreed by Henrikh Mkhitaryan as part of the swap deal which saw Alexis Sanchez join Manchester United last week. Arsenal are keen to keep the talks with Aubameyang separate to conversations regarding Olivier Giroud leaving Emirates Stadium.
Manager Arsene Wenger would ideally prefer to keep Giroud until the summer but is mindful of the player’s desire for regular first-team football with this year’s World Cup in mind.
Giroud has started just one Premier League game this season following the arrival of Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon and wants the 31-year-old to spearhead the Gunners’ attack in the Europa League knockout stages.
Wenger wants to avoid Lacazette being overloaded during his first season in England – which is also partly the reason why he rarely completes 90 minutes in matches – and so Giroud’s presence is important, especially given Aubameyang will be ineligible to play for Arsenal in Europe should he move to London this month.
Danny Welbeck could play as a centre-forward – especially with Mkhitaryan free to compete in all competitions except the Carabao Cup Final – but, regardless, Aubameyang’s arrival would push Giroud further down the pecking order domestically at a time when he needs matches.
Wenger may also choose to prioritise the Europa League and play Lacazette should Arsenal’s Premier League form deteriorate but, for the time being at least, the Gunners boss firmly believes his side can still make the top four.
Dortmund are keen on taking Giroud but a further complication is believed to be the reluctance of his wife to move to Germany. Giroud turned down a move to Everton last summer because his family were not keen on a move to Merseyside and Chelsea are hopeful of taking advantage of his wife’s preference to stay in London.
However, Arsenal are thought to be strongly resistant to the idea of losing Giroud – even on loan – to a Premier League rival in the same window as allowing Sanchez to join United.
Dortmund want a replacement for Aubameyang in place before allowing him to depart and despite the current impasse, Arsenal are confident a deal will be completed in time.