Aubameyang joins Arsenal for club-record $80 million
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 31, 2018 09:35 PM
FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2017 file photo Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks on during a German first division Bundesliga soccer match between FSV Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund in Mainz, Germany. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, file)
By Steve Douglas, Associated Press
Arsenal paid a club-record fee of 63.75 million euros ($80 million) to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, completing the overhaul of the team's attack that was triggered by Alexis Sanchez's departure to Manchester United.
In potentially the most significant move in the Premier League on the final day of the January transfer window, Aubameyang joined Arsenal in a deal that should result in Olivier Giroud leaving the club in the coming hours — reportedly to London rival Chelsea.
The 28-year-old Aubameyang will compete with, or maybe complement, offseason signing Alexandre Lacazette up front as Arsenal looks to make up an eight-point deficit to the Champions League qualification positions in the Premier League.
Another new face in Arsenal's attack is Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the playmaker who arrived from Manchester United last week as part of the swap deal that took Sanchez to Old Trafford. Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang linked up to great effect when they played together at Dortmund in the 2015-16 season, scoring 62 goals between them in all competitions.
This is the first transfer window since Sven Mislintat joined Arsenal as its head of recruitment after 10 years at Dortmund. Among the players Mislintat was credited with identifying and developing at the German club are Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang, and he has managed to reunite them.
Mkhitaryan welcomed Aubameyang in a video message on Arsenal's Twitter feed.
In total, Aubameyang scored 98 goals in 144 games for Dortmund in the German league after joining from Saint-Etienne in 2013 and was the top scorer last season with 31. Only eight players from Europe's top five leagues have scored more goals than the Gabon striker since the start of 2014-15 season.
Arsenal inadvertently posted a video on its website in the early hours of Wednesday, during which manager Arsene Wenger confirmed the signing of Aubameyang in an in-house interview after the Premier League game against Swansea on Tuesday. The video was quickly taken down.
Arsenal lost to Swansea 3-1 in a game that exposed its weakness up front without the explosive Sanchez around. It left Wenger's team in sixth place with 13 matches left.
The fee for Aubameyang was identical to that paid by Manchester City for France under-21 international Aymeric Laporte on Tuesday. That was also a club record — but it could be broken a day later if City manages to bring Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez to Etihad Stadium.
City has reportedly made its move for English soccer's Player of the Year for the 2015-16 season following an injury to Leroy Sane that has ruled the Germany winger out for up to seven weeks.
Another deal that could go through on Wednesday is Tottenham's signing of winger Lucas Moura from Paris Saint-Germain. Moura was pictured arriving in London on Tuesday ahead of a medical examination.