Football

Aubameyang completes move to Arsenal as Oezil extends contract

Aubameyang signs on deadline day as Oezil extends contract

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund for a club record fee of £56 million (S$103.8m) yesterday, in a transfer deadline day move that should buy the Gunners some much-needed breathing space.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger - who last August kept the football world on tenterhooks as he held out selling Alexis Sanchez to Manchester City because he failed to secure Thomas Lemar from Monaco - did not wait until the last minute to land the Gabon striker.

Wenger persuaded the Arsenal board to pay more for the 28-year-old than the £46.5 million they shelled out for Frenchman Alexandre Lacazette last August.

Dortmund have eyed up a six-month loan move for Belgium international Michy Batshuayi from champions Chelsea, who have stipulated there will be no option to buy at the end of that period, reported AFP.

"Aubameyang has joined us from Borussia Dortmund on a long-term contract for a club-record fee," the statement from Arsenal said.

The club described him as "one of the world's most highly rated strikers".

"He scored 98 goals in 144 Bundesliga games for Dortmund and had a hand in 172 goals in 213 matches in all competitions for his former club," it continued.

The arrival of Aubameyang has convinced another Arsenal star, Mesut Oezil, to agree to an extension to his contract which would have otherwise expired at the end of the season.

According to the BBC, the 29-year-old German playmaker is now the best-paid player in the club's history, earning £350,000 a week in a deal that will see him stay until 2021.

DISCIPLINARY ISSUES

The news should ease some pressure on the club, who had to sell their best player Sanchez to Manchester United last month in a swop deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move the opposite way.

However, a warning to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is that three Dortmund coaches - current boss Peter Stoeger, plus predecessors Peter Bosz and Thomas Tuchel - have had to discipline Aubameyang over the last 16 months.

It started with minor indiscretions, like shaving the logo of private sponsors Nike into his hair, although Dortmund are backed by Puma.

He was dropped by then coach-Tuchel in November 2016 for taking a private jet to Milan, just before a Champions League game, to see his family.

Then he annoyed Dortmund teammates by checking his father and brother into the team hotel during a winter training camp in Spain in early January.

Matters came to a head when he was kicked out of the squad for their first game of 2018, a goalless draw with Wolfsburg on Jan 14.

Having also been dropped in November by Bosz for arriving late to training, Stoeger again ejected him for missing a team meeting.

The most blatant provocation came a fortnight ago, when he was left out for the 1-1 draw at Hertha Berlin after training poorly.

At the same time as the game, Aubameyang was playing five-a-side with friends in Dortmund. He wore a Dortmund shirt bearing the name of Ousmane Dembele - who forced Borussia to sell him to Barcelona in August by boycotting training.

Meanwhile, Aubameyang's arrival also saw French veteran striker Olivier Giroud complete the musical chairs by signing for Chelsea, who yesterday announced the signing of Brazilian left back Emerson Palmieri from AS Roma for £17.6m.

Elsewhere, runaway leaders Manchester City have lodged a surprise £60m bid for 2016 champions Leicester City's Algerian star Riyad Mahrez, although the Foxes are believed to be holding out for more money.

City have already acquired the services of French centre back Aymeric Laporte for a fee of £57m from Athletic Bilbao earlier.

As of press time, Tottenham Hotspur are getting close to signing Brazilian Lucas Moura, who has fallen out of favour at French giants Paris Saint-Germain following the arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

If the £26.5m deal happens, Moura will become the fifth-most expensive signing in the club's history.

Football