Barcelona Transfer News: Latest on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Top Rumours

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2017

SINSHEIM, GERMANY - DECEMBER 16: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Dortmund gestures during the Bundesliga match between TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund at Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena on December 16, 2016 in Sinsheim, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Barcelona target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been advised not to quit the Bundesliga. The Borussia Dortmund forward has instead been urged to stay in Germany's top flight by Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.

Speaking to German publication Sport Bild (h/t Joe Short of the Daily Express), Lewandowski told Aubameyang to ignore the transfer speculation surrounding him: "I obviously do not know exactly what he is thinking and BVB have a decision to make as well. Do they want to hold on to him or make a lot of money? But of course, it would be better for the Bundesliga if he were to stay put."

Rumours of a lucrative move away from Dortmund have been building around Aubameyang recently. In fact, his club has responded to interest from some of Europe's top teams by putting a price tag worth £68.5 million on the prolific striker, chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke told Kicker TV (h/t The Sun's Anthony Chapman).

Lewandowski thinks the Bundesliga is better with Aubameyang in it.
Lewandowski thinks the Bundesliga is better with Aubameyang in it.PATRIK STOLLARZ/Getty Images

Chapman identified Barcelona as one of the clutch of illustrious clubs said to keen on the 27-year-old: "The German giants are aware of strong interest in their prize asset from Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal and Manchester United."

Barca boast the financial power and prestige to bring an attacker of Aubameyang's quality to the Camp Nou. However, the Blaugrana may be reluctant to seriously compete with bitter rivals Real Madrid and some of the Premier League's biggest clubs to sign the striker.

As Short noted, Barca want to ensure Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi remain at the club for the foreseeable future. In fact, keeping the Argentina international could demand some fiscal juggling from the five-time UEFA Champions League winners.

Messi's next contract could alter Barca's transfer plans.
Messi's next contract could alter Barca's transfer plans.Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Spanish source Marca (h/t Alex Porter of the Manchester Evening News) recently revealed how Barcelona may even consider selling midfield general Ivan Rakitic to help fund Messi's next contract.

Securing Messi would surely make funding a big-money move for Aubameyang beyond difficult. Barca's issues may increase if Liverpool enter the race for the BVB man.

The Reds are keen to sign the Gabon international to replace Daniel Sturridge, according to John Richardson of the Sunday Mirror. Klopp once signed Aubameyang for Dortmund, so he may have the inside track on any deal.

There's no doubt Aubameyang's pace and keen eye for goal would be assets at the Camp Nou. But Barca need cover for their star front three, not a striker who would have to be a first choice.


Everton to Swoop for Barca Striker Target

Everton are reportedly set to beat Barcelona to the signing of teenage Brazilian attacker Caio Emerson, according to the Daily Mirror (h/t Alex Wood of the Daily Star Sunday).

Wood detailed how 17-year-old Emerson will see his deal with Corinthians expire this summer. His contract situation, along with his obvious potential, has attracted significant interest in the South American forward, per Wood: "Emerson was wanted by Barcelona and Everton's Merseyside rivals, Liverpool."

However, it appears Everton manager and ex-Barca player Ronald Koeman is ready to put a deal for Emerson in place now, according to the reports: "It's suggested the Toffees will only be liable to pay a £250,000 development fee."

Koeman is ready to beat his old club to an intriguing young prospect.
Koeman is ready to beat his old club to an intriguing young prospect.Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Missing out on Emerson would be a shame for Barca. The young Brazilian is exactly the type of precocious attacking option the Catalan club needs to learn and develop behind Suarez, Neymar and Messi.

As long as their star-studded front three stays fit and available, Barca will remain prime contenders for major trophies. Yet a major drop in form is always likely as long as manager Luis Enrique lacks credible alternatives for his forward line.

Finding those options is sure to be tricky business, though. Enrique has to sign a striker good enough to win matches at the highest level, but not one likely to demand regular playing time ahead of Messi, Suarez and Neymar.