Liverpool Transfer News: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Targeted Amid Arsenal Rumours

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2016

Dortmund's Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates after his goal during the German Cup DFB Pokal third round match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Augsburg in Augsburg on December 16, 2015.  / AFP / Christof STACHE / RESTRICTIONS: ACCORDING TO DFB RULES IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED DURING MATCH TIME. MOBILE (MMS) USE IS NOT ALLOWED DURING AND FOR FURTHER TWO HOURS AFTER THE MATCH. == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE == FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT DFB DIRECTLY AT +49 69 67880

 /         (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

Liverpool are reportedly preparing a January move for Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with Premier League rivals Arsenal having already been linked with the striker.

Justin Allen in the Sun recently reported the Gunners are eyeing a £42 million move for the in-form Gabonese forward and that an "intermediary" had been in contact with Dortmund to thrash out a deal.

However, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp reportedly believes he can hijack Arsenal's move because of his "superior contacts" at his former club, per Spanish outlet Don Balon (via James Cambridge in the Express).

Aubameyang moved to the Westfalenstadion in July 2013 and worked under Klopp for two seasons before the German left the club last summer.

The 26-year-old showed decent form under Klopp—netting 29 league goals across his first two Bundesliga campaigns—but has truly stepped up his game in 2015-16 and has scored 18 times in 17 matches, per

Hence he has become such a sought-after and expensive target. Given the scarcity of available world-class strikers across Europe, both Arsenal and Liverpool clearly believe they can force Dortmund's hand with a big-money offer.

While football pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft has previously suggested Dortmund would not let him go, the club's CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke, has dropped a slight hint Aubameyang could be available:

Klopp has had a mixed time of it since taking over at Anfield in October, but the January transfer window offers him his first opportunity to bring his own players into the club.

Summer signing Christian Benteke struggled to make a significant impact in the first half of the season, most recently putting in an abject performance in Saturday's 2-0 defeat to West Ham United, per Squawka:

Aubameyang would surely be an upgrade on the Belgian, not least because he would be able to slot into Klopp's style of play with ease having worked under him before.

However, there is no guarantee Klopp's influence could prove the deciding factor for Aubameyang if he does leave Dortmund.

Arsenal seem a more attractive prospect than Liverpool given they are top of the Premier League and perennial Champions League participants.

Furthermore, Bleacher Report's Dean Jones is convinced Arsene Wenger is preparing to make a big-money purchase in 2016, although his prediction is for the summer, not January:

Aubameyang would be a brilliant addition for Liverpool and the Premier League, and he would give them a far greater chance of a top-four finish this season if he arrived in January.

However, even if Dortmund are prepared to let him go, Liverpool will have a serious fight on their hands with Arsenal and numerous other clubs surely eager to add Aubameyang to their squads.