Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has labelled rumours linking him with a move to Real Madrid "bulls--t" and said he's fully concentrated on matters at Signal Iduna Park.
The Gabon international spoke to the media following Thursday's 3-0 UEFA Europa League defeat of Tottenham Hotspur, and he was asked about the rumours of a move to Real Madrid. He replied, per the official Bundesliga website: "It's bulls--t. Papers are like this. I’m focused on my season here. I'm from Borussia Dortmund and for the moment I’m here."
The comments emerged on the same day Spanish newspaper AS reported the forward had agreed a summer move to the Santiago Bernabeu:
"Aubameyang says yes to Madrid" screams the newspaper boy in a pair of ragged shorts and a paper hat... pic.twitter.com/90FDLRm1RD— AS English (@English_AS) March 11, 2016
Aubameyang has become one of Europe's most sought-after talents after netting 33 goals in 38 games across all competitions for the Black and Yellows this season.
That tally sees the Dortmund talisman sitting among an elite crop of scoring stars this season, according to Sky Sports Statto, and Aubameyang may yet make a challenge for Europe's Golden Boot:
Only Suarez (42), Ronaldo (40) & Messi (35) have more goals than Dortmund’s Aubameyang (33) in all comps in the Top 5 European Lges in 15-16— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) March 10, 2016
Real Madrid have an effective attack in Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, commonly referred to as the BBC, but that trinity could be set for big changes this summer.
Spanish daily Sport reported Ronaldo was one of two players (captain Sergio Ramos was the other) who handed in a transfer request following a recent 1-0 defeat at home to rivals Atletico Madrid (h/t the Independent's James Orr).
The future of Benzema is also somewhat uncertain after he was charged with conspiracy to blackmail France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena, per ESPN FC's Mark Rodden, in a case that's still ongoing.
Benzema has received some good news, though, after Agence-France Presse revealed on Friday that the striker would be free to compete at UEFA Euro 2016:
#BREAKING: France's Benzema available for Euro 2016 after legal restrictions lifted— AFP news agency (@AFP) March 11, 2016
Nevertheless, Aubameyang may be considered an upgrade on the French finisher following his rise to fame at Dortmund since arriving from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2013.
Goal's Robin Bairner highlighted the 26-year-old's evolution into an elite striker since joining the Bundesliga outfit, and Real may hope his development continues in Spain:
Aubameyang has scored 74 goals in 132 outings for Borussia Dortmund, equal to a record of 0.56 goals per game, which is far superior to his Saint-Etienne total of 41 goals in 97 appearances, a ratio of just 0.42 goals per game.
The glittering forward has more than four years remaining on his contract at the Westfalenstadion, and Dortmund will feel confident of retaining a player who appears content in his surroundings.