When Arsenal’s negotiating team of senior executives returned to London empty-handed, it was assumed Borussia Dortmund held all the cards in the future of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Including him in the squad to face Freiburg at the weekend underlined they were in no hurry to sell the Gabon international.
However, football.london claims that increasing media hostility toward the 28-year-old may force Dortmund to reduce their €60m asking price for an increasingly disruptive influence in their squad.
Aubameyang and those closest to him find themselves scrutinised more than ever before and a bitter war of words erupted with members of the media, culminating in a spat with German football magazine Kicker.
Although an apology was issued by the media outlet, the racial overtones of the insult are such that the Dortmund hierarchy fear it is an incident which weakens their negotiating position.
Two of the BVB management team – CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke and sporting director Michael Zorc – are convinced it is in the best interests of both club and player for a parting of the ways. It leaves head coach Peter Stoger in the unenviable position of trying to re-integrate the 28-year-old striker back into the squad while a solution is found.
To make matters worse, newspaper Bild antagonised the situation by targeting the striker’s father for criticism which will not sit well with Aubameyang Junior who has a close bond with his family.
In the meantime, Arsenal sit quietly waiting for movement which will bring the deal to a conclusion before the end of the transfer window.