We are at the end of a long, winding road: Borussia Dortmund confirmed on Wednesday that striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has left the club with immediate effect, joining Premier League giants Arsenal on a long-term deal. In a surprising move, Dortmund published the transfer fee, which stands at €63.75 million.
The mercurial Gabonese had been at the centre of transfer speculation for the better part of the last two-and-a-half years. The rumours went into overdrive after his latest disciplinary mishap earlier this month, when the 28-year-old failed to show up for an important team meeting and was subsequently left out of the squad for the Wolfsburg Bundesliga match.
An immediate exit seemed inevitable since that point in time, as discussed here and in various Yellowwallpod episodes, but the deal to send Aubameyang to London seemingly hung in the balance until Wednesday’s transfer deadline.
The transfer hinged on Dortmund finding a replacement and, despite nothing being official by the time of this writing, pictures have emerged of Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi performing a medical for the Black and Yellows.
The Belgian will have a tough time replacing Aubameyang’s output. Simply put, the Gabon international has been one of the most prolific strikers in Bundesliga history, with the third-best goal-per-minute ratio behind legend Gerd Müller and current superstar and Aubameyang’s “nemesis,” Robert Lewandowski.
In total, he has scored 141 goals in 213 competitive matches for the Black and Yellows, including 98 Bundesliga goals. He also scored the winning penalty in 2017’s DFB-Pokal final against Eintracht Frankfurt — the only major trophy Dortmund have won since Aubameyang’s arrival from AS Saint-Etienne in 2013.
The 28-year-old’s legacy will be a matter of debate among Dortmund fans for years to come, one can presume, given his unprofessional exit after four-and-a-half years of largely excellent performances.
Sporting director Michael Zorc spoke of the same conflict in the club’s official release about the transfer:
Apart from the unpleasant events that have taken place in the past few weeks, we like to think back on the four years that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang spent with BVB as one big success story. In this time he performed great deeds for Borussia Dortmund, he scored many important goals and he is part of the team that won the 2017 DFB Cup for Dortmund. We wish Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all the best for his future career with FC Arsenal.