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Arsenal sign Aubameyang, Manchester City up bid for Mahrez

London (AFP) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund for a club-record fee of around £56 million on Wednesday as Manchester City upped their bid to sign Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez in the final hours of the transfer window.

The 28-year-old Gabon striker signed a contract with the Gunners until 2021, becoming the Gunners’ second big-name signing of the January transfer window after Henrikh Mkhitaryan joined from Manchester United.

The signing, which translates as $79 million, or 64 million euros, will boost Arsene Wenger’s forward options after the departure of Alexis Sanchez to United in a swap deal with Mkhitaryan but raises questions about Alexandre Lacazette’s future in the first team.

“Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has joined us from Borussia Dortmund on a long-term contract for a club-record fee,” Arsenal said in a statement on their website, describing him as one of the world’s most highly rated strikers.

“This deal is subject to the completion of regulatory processes and Auba’s squad number will be confirmed shortly,” it added.

Aubameyang compared himself to club legend Thierry Henry.

“I think the club has such a big history and great players like Thierry Henry,” Aubameyang told the club website shortly after putting pen to paper on his contract. “He’s an example for us strikers.”

“I’m a fast player and I score goals too, like Henry a little bit,” added Aubameyang. “But as I said, I have to work a lot more.”

Aubameyang’s arrival will likely see the departure of French forward Olivier Giroud after six years at Arsenal, with Chelsea the likely destination. London’s Evening Standard reported that he would soon be unveiled after signing a deal at Stamford Bridge.

In a complicated game of musical chairs, the BBC reported that Borussia Dortmund had agreed a deal to sign out-of-favour Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi on loan for the rest of the season, subject to a medical.

– Mahrez bid –

Pep Guardiola’s City are understood to have upped their bid for Mahrez, who won the Premier League with Leicester in 2015-16 with a cash-plus-player offer worth up to £65 million, according to Sky Sports.

City have lost influential Germany winger Leroy Sane for at least six weeks with an ankle injury and with the club competing on four fronts Guardiola suggested he may need reinforcements.

“Right now, it’s the same as (Alexis) Sanchez, it’s not the place to talk about it. It’s so difficult,” Guardiola said on Tuesday when asked about Mahrez.

“If things are not possible, then nothing is going to happen. We don’t have too much and we play every three days. We have to find solutions.”

City paid a club-record record fee of £57 million for young French centre-back Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao, whose deal was confirmed on Tuesday.

Tottenham are apparently closing on the signing of Brazilian Lucas Moura, who has fallen out of favour at French giants Paris Saint-Germain after the arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Swansea, whose win against Arsenal on Tuesday saw them move out of the Premier League’s bottom three, reportedly want to bring Ghanaian forward Andre Ayew back to Wales from West Ham.

The Swans are hoping to sign the 28-year-old for around £18-20 million, according to the Evening Standard.

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