Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has shattered Arsenal's hopes of landing his signature after proclaiming he won't move to the Emirates Stadium, but the Gunners could look to sign Benedikt Howedes.
Aubameyang was named 2015 African Footballer of the Year on Thursday evening, and when quizzed on the rumours linking him to Arsenal, he responded, per the Sun's Andrew Richardson: “I don’t want to go to Arsenal. I won’t leave Dortmund soon.”
The bonus for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is that while he may not get his hands on the forward anytime soon, his comments suggest neither will any of the other Premier League clubs also linked with his talents.
Richardson outlined both Manchester United and Manchester City as being interested in a deal, but the Gabon international looks likely to remain at the Signal Iduna Park for the foreseeable future.
The 26-year-old is one of the hottest assets in Europe at present. After bagging an impressive 25 goals in 46 games last season, Aubameyang has smashed his career record by netting 27 times in 27 outings this term.
After collecting his prize for African Footballer of the Year, the Black and Yellows maestro took to his official Instagram account to celebrate the individual triumph:
Arsenal have been linked with a lengthy list of attacking targets this winter after the season started with Olivier Giroud sidelined in favour of Theo Walcott up front.
While the north London outfit have been a little short at the striker position, Aubameyang has been thriving as one of the most prolific figures on the continent. The BBC's John Bennett celebrated his grounded personality as one of his greatest attributes:
John Bennett @JohnBennettBBC
Happy for PE Aubameyang. Very humble guy who in 2015 proved he is one of the world's best strikers. 2016 could be even more exciting for him2016-1-7 22:12:11
Giroud has since reclaimed his spot in Wenger's XI, but Arsenal may yet look to bring in attacking reinforcements this month after seeing their squad rocked by injuries recently.
Another Bundesliga target rumoured to be on the Arsenal radar is Schalke defender Howedes, according to SportBild (h/t Telegraph).
The 2014 World Cup winner is reported to have a £9 million release clause in his contract, and the Gunners are said to be thinking of triggering that figure in the hope of beefing up their defence next summer.
The 27-year-old has just entered the final 18 months of his current contract, and Schalke may consider cashing in on a player who has been with them for almost 15 years rather than lose him for nothing in 2017.