St Etienne striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has claimed that Manchester United has shown an interest in securing his signature.
Aubameyang has recently been linked with a move to Newcastle United following the departure of Demba Ba to Chelsea, but his refusal to leave St Etienne high and dry has killed any chance of a January deal.
The 23-year-old Gabon international was speaking to French magazine Vert Foot and declared that a number of European sides have made inquiries, but insists he will not be leaving his current club any time soon (via SkySports.com):
There is contact with the two Manchester clubs and also clubs in Italy, especially Fiorentina and another big Italian club.
I want to leave with everyone happy. I will not leave in this January window.
Despite choosing to ply his trade with the nation of his parentage, Aubameyang was born in France and he holds dual nationality. He began his international career with France U21's.
So far this season he has scored eight goals and contributed four assists from 18 starts for St Etienne. This continues his form of last season when he notched 16 goals and seven assists from 36 appearances—finishing joint fourth top scorer in Ligue 1 (per WhoScored.com).
Aubameyang can also play as an attacking midfielder (through the middle or from both flanks), which may explain any potential pursuit by Manchester United.
Sir Alex Ferguson has been adjusting the tactical formations of Manchester United this season in order to improve the side’s strategic fluidity. Ferguson also wishes to increase tactical unpredictability prior to kick off.
The 4-1-2-1-2 or diamond has been utilised and various mutations of the traditional 4-4-2 have also been employed.
The increasingly popular 4-2-3-1 is a favourite of United’s first-team coach Rene Meulensteen and Aubameyang could operate in any of the four attacking positions in this system.
Thus, Aubameyang’s adaptability across these roles could account for the interest. The 4-2-3-1 system opens more spaces up for forwards of this type, particularly in the modern squad game.
Alternatively, Sir Alex may well be unsatisfied with his current crop of forwards.
Danny Welbeck has been the brunt of much criticism this season and many fans would be prepared to sacrifice the home-grown talent if a more appealing target became available.
Currently, Wayne Rooney is Manchester United’s most saleable asset. The success of Robin van Persie this season has seen Rooney’s talisman reputation weakened. Could even Wayne’s United future be under threat?
Would Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang strengthen Manchester United’s squad? Is Sir Alex Ferguson looking to offload one of his existing forwards? Give me your thoughts below or hit me up on Twitter @jonathanbeever.