Arsenal agree club-record £55.5m fee for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has agreed deal worth £180,000-a-week
• Dortmund want to secure replacement before letting him go
Arsenal have reached agreement in principle with Borussia Dortmund over the club record €63m(£55.5m) signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, though the Bundesliga side will only sanction the completion of the deal once they have secured a replacement.
Negotiations have been on-going for Aubameyang for a fortnight, with Arsenal always confident a deal could be concluded this month after the player made clear he was keen to move to London.
A three-and-a-half year contract has been agreed with the Gabon forward believed to be worth £180,000-a-week, though reaching compromise with Dortmund has proved more problematic.
An Arsenal delegation led by the chief executive Ivan Gazidis, and including the new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat and Huss Fahmy, who works on player contracts, spent time in Westphalia last week, with talks having continued in the period since.
Reports in Germany suggest a deal was settled in principle over the weekend for a player who moved to Dortmund in 2013 and has proved prolific, if controversial at times, ever since.
The 28-year-old had been championed by Mislintat, who had been instrumental in securing him at BVB from Saint-Étienne.
Yet Dortmund have made clear that they must secure a forward replacement for the outgoing Aubameyang before the transfer is formally signed off.
Olivier Giroud is among the options for Dortmund and separate talks are now ongoing with Arsenal today about a deal for the France striker. Arsenal are open to both a loan or a permanent transfer and there is also interest in Giroud from Chelsea.
There have been talks with Arsenal over Olivier Giroud – that would be a separate deal, if agreed, rather than a swap – though the Frenchman is apparently reluctant to leave London mid-season and could still be more tempted by a move to Chelsea.
Anthony Modeste, who joined the Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian from Cologne last summer, has been mooted as a potential addition, but would cost around €30m(£26.4m).
Michy Batshuayi, scorer of a brace for Chelsea on Saturday but a player who would be permitted to leave on loan if a replacement is secured before Wednesday’s cut-off, is another option the German club may pursue.
With Arsenal also selling Theo Walcott and Giroud now likely to leave, Arsene Wenger wanted only a player who would immediately improve his starting team and Aubameyang has established himself as one of the most prolific strikers in any European league.
He has scored 141 goals in four-and-a-half seasons for Dortmund.
Arsenal have also been interested in defender Jonny Evans, but a deal is now more likely in the summer when his contract will have only one year remaining and West Brom will have to lower the current £20 million asking price.
The Aubameyang and Evans deals are not both considered financially sensible this month.
Arsenal are also still trying to persuade both Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere to extend contracts that expire this summer.