But Deal Displays Erosion Of Wenger Power Base
Arsenal are closing in on Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with reports from Germany claiming a deal could be done in the coming days. But there is an overall feeling that the transfer isn’t being done with Arsene Wenger’s blessing.
Aubameyang was suspended by Dortmund last week. It was his third internal suspension in the space of little more than twelve months and came after yet another break of the club’s disciplinary code.
However, the Gabon international wasn’t on the plane as Dortmund travelled to Berlin on Thursday for tonight’s match with Hertha.
Wenger appeared to be keen at his weekly press conference on the prospect of signing Aubameyang.
“A strong character can be very positive or very negative,” Wenger said on Thursday. “But that’s what’s been achieved in his career and he has achieved a lot. He brings his character on the field in a positive way. ”
Those comments were slammed by Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc.
“We consider this disrespectful, to comment on players of other teams,” said Zorc. “There has been no contact with Arsenal. We assume that Arsene Wenger has to deal with in the performance of his own players. ”
But the Gunners’ pursuit of Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan show the influence of Arsenal’s new head of player recruitment Sven Mislintat. The German was recruited from Borussia Dortmund late last year on a salary of over £1million a year. It was Mislintat who recommended Aubameyang to the Dortmund board and it was Mislintat who was behind the recruitment of Henrikh Mkhitaryan to the German club in the summer of 2013.
Moves for two players – one current at Borussia Dortmund, one a former Dortmund player – shows how Wenger’s power base is being eroded in what are likely to be his final two years as Arsenal boss. Certainly at 28, both players are older than the usual Arsenal recruit.
Aubameyang was suspended for last weekend’s draw with Wolfsburg because he skipped a team meeing. Explaining the decision to omit him from tonight’s match in Berlin, Zorc added: “Auba is training in Dortmund. We feel his head is not concentrating 100 percent.”