London (AFP) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund for a club record fee of £56 million (63.7 million euros, 79.2 million euros) on Wednesday, in the biggest deal so far on transfer deadline day.
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 Belgian international Michy Batshuayi from champions Chelsea, who have stipulated there will be no option to buy at the end of that period.
“Pierre-Emerick 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.
Aubameyang’s arrival should see French veteran Olivier Giroud completing the musical chairs by signing for Chelsea even though Wenger was loathe to let him move to a rival as Sanchez joined Manchester United earlier this month.
However, the French striker is keen to stay in London as he seeks regular first team action to secure his place in France’s World Cup squad.
– Surprise Mahrez bid –
Elsewhere runaway leaders Manchester City have lodged a surprise £60 million bid for 2016 champions Leicester City’s Algerian star Riyad Mahrez, who ignored manager Claude Puel’s pleas for him to stay by putting in a transfer request.
However, Leicester are unlikely to let the 26-year-old — who was a key player in their stunning title success in 2016 and who has returned to form this term after a dip last season — leave for less than £90 million.
City have lost influential Germany winger Leroy Sane for up to seven weeks with an ankle injury and with the club competing on four fronts Guardiola suggested he may require a replacement.