Manchester United Transfer News: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Top Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2016

Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates after scoring his second goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and FC Ingolstadt in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Manchester United reportedly met with representatives of Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang “a few weeks ago” to negotiate a potential summer transfer.

That’s according to French outlet Le 10 Sport (h/t Marc Williams of the Daily Star), which claimed the forward is available for around £60 million and that the Red Devils are “very serious” about getting the striker on board.

Here is a look at why Dortmund are well within their rights to command such a significant fee for the 26-year-old:

United’s lack of depth in the centre-forward position has been exposed recently, with skipper Wayne Rooney ruled out for around six weeks. It leaves Anthony Martial as the only senior option for the time being, and consequently, it’s an area the club will surely look to address in the summer.

As Bleacher Report’s Nick Akerman noted, it’s an issue manager Louis van Gaal should have addressed by now:

Aubameyang would go a long way toward ending these problems. The BVB star has taken his game on to new levels under the guidance of Thomas Tuchel, thriving at the point of the attack. The forward has always had raw pace, great strength and clever movement, but his composure in front of goal this season, having netted 20 times in the Bundesliga, has made him a force of nature.

As Bleacher Report UK noted earlier in the season, the goalscoring run enjoyed by the Gabon international has been pretty remarkable:

A sum of £60 million may seem excessive for a player who has recently enjoyed the finest year of his career, but Aubameyang is beginning to look very much like the real deal. For United fans, who have been craving a more direct and sharper style of football at Old Trafford, he’d be a perfect acquisition.

Aubameyang would give United a refreshing presence up front.
Aubameyang would give United a refreshing presence up front.ODD ANDERSEN/Getty Images

Dortmund won’t want to sell, and given they’ll almost certainly qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League, they should be in a position to keep hold of their elite players. But money talks, and United are one of a few clubs in the world with the financial muscle that could prise Aubameyang away from the Westfalenstadion.

 

Radja Nainggolan Targeted

REGGIO NELL'EMILIA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 02:  Radja Nainggolan of AS Roma gestures during the Serie A match between US Sassuolo Calcio and AS Roma at Mapei Stadium - Città del Tricolore on February 2, 2016 in Reggio nell'Emilia, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzan
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

According to Italian football journalist Alfredo Pedulla (h/t Alex Harris of the Daily Star), Manchester United are set to appoint Jose Mourinho as manager to replace Van Gaal and the Portuguese will go all out to bring in Radja Nainggolan to "beef up" the midfield.

It’s noted that while the Red Devils would have to spend big in order to sign the Belgium international, Mourinho sees his acquisition as key.

Here is a look at why Nainggolan is rated as one of the fiercest and most combative central midfielders in European football:

The 27-year-old only became an official Roma player last summer, with the Giallorossi buying out the rest of his contract from Cagliari following a season-long loan. During his time at the Stadio Olimpico, he’s been a big hit, adding the drive and determination to the Roma midfield that has been absent because of the succession of injuries suffered by Kevin Strootman.

For all his defensive qualities, as noted by WhoScored.com, he’s not a player who regularly chips in with goals:

If Mourinho does get the top job at Old Trafford, then multifaceted footballers such as Nainggolan are the type of signings the Portuguese would likely look to make. The midfielder can pass, tackle, carry the ball forward and shoot; at the moment, United don’t have another player in midfield who marries those attributes quite so well.

Mourinho always looks to build combative football teams.
Mourinho always looks to build combative football teams.PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

A potential partnership between Nainggolan and Morgan Schneiderlin in the engine room looks impenetrable on paper, and for Mourinho, that defensive solidity would be key. However, with Roma unlikely to be keen on selling and the ex-Chelsea boss not even appointed as of yet, there seems to be a long way to go before any deal comes to fruition.