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

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2017

DORTMUND, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 4: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Dortmund looks dejected after the German Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munchen at the Signal Iduna Park on November 4, 2017 in Dortmund Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Barcelona reportedly opted against signing Pierre-Emrick Aubameyang this summer despite being approached by representatives of the Borussia Dortmund striker about a possible transfer.

Aubameyang was open to moving to the Camp Nou to replace Neymar, but Barca had other targets in mind, according to Tomas Andreu of Sport: "The Catalan club felt they needed [Philippe] Coutinho and [Ousmane] Dembele more, though."

As Andreu noted, Aubameyang's representatives alerted clubs to the attacker's possible availability: "The striker's people didn't exactly offer him to the Catalan club but did let it be known he would be keen to sign following Neymar's move to PSG."

Aubameyang reportedly wanted to replace Neymar at the Camp Nou.
Aubameyang reportedly wanted to replace Neymar at the Camp Nou.Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

While the Blaugrana didn't initially warm to the idea of signing Aubameyang, their approach changed as they pursued a difficult move for his Dortmund teammate, Dembele. Andreu detailed how checks were made on Aubameyang as negotiations for Dembele started to drag:

"It was Barca who then made an approach in the final days of the window, though. Dortmund made things difficult with Dembele and there were calls to see if Aubameyang, who was with Dembele this weekend in Barcelona, could be available. For the player there was no problem, but the German club refused to open talks for the player, who's much more important to his team than Dembele was."

Dortmund's refusal to even discuss selling Aubameyang is understandable since he is the attacking talisman of the club. Aubameyang has gone from mercurial wide player to ruthlessly efficient and free-scoring centre-forward since joining Dortmund in 2013.

Goals have been common for the Gabon international during his five seasons at the Bundesliga club, even as managers have changed. He has worked with Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel and now Peter Bosz.

Aubameyang is scoring freely on the watch of Bosz.
Aubameyang is scoring freely on the watch of Bosz.TF-Images/Getty Images

Aubameyang is still scoring at a prolific rate on Bosz's watch. He's found the net 10 times in the German top flight, four times in domestic cup competitions and once in the UEFA Champions League, per WhoScored.com.

Given how freely he scores, it's reasonable for Barca to be keen on Aubameyang, despite the club's already considerable attacking talent. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are still a devastating double act, while Dembele's potential is obvious, even though he is out for up to four months with a thigh injury.

The presence of Suarez is said to have convinced Barcelona not to sign Aubameyang in the summer, per Mundo Deportivo (h/t Anthony Chapman of The Sun).

Suarez is a terrific No. 9, but he has been struggling this season. In fact, the Uruguay international has only found the net three times in La Liga, while failing to score in the Champions League, per WhoScored.com.

Suarez's presence reportedly put Barca off signing Aubameyang in the summer.
Suarez's presence reportedly put Barca off signing Aubameyang in the summer.Power Sport Images/Getty Images

The striker said during an interview with ESPN FC's Sid Lowe that he's staying calm despite the missed chances. Suarez may be relaxed about his scoring drought, but he's now 30.

Aubameyang, 28, is younger and is hitting his peak as a goalscorer. He boasts greater pace than Suarez, while his movement off the ball is perceptive thanks to his experiences as a winger.

Andreu noted how Aubameyang "could be on the move next summer." Barca would be smart to revisit the idea of signing Aubameyang. Adding him to Messi, Suarez and a fit-again Dembele would give the Blaugrana attacking depth superior to any club in Europe.