Arsenal are looking to beef up their attack this summer, and several recent reports have suggested a swoop for Borussia Dortmund forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He became an increasingly important part of BVB's first team last season, but Arsène Wenger is seemingly undeterred in his pursuit.
However, the Gunners have been warned off making a move for the Gabon international by BVB's sporting director Michael Zorc, who has been quoted in the Mirror as saying: "I've heard a lot about this (a transfer to Arsenal) but I can say very clearly that it is blocked, for him. He is simply not for sale."
That sounds like pretty definitive stuff, but as Fabian Delph's recent u-turn has illustrated, it's never wise to take things at face value during football's silly season. So let's take a closer look at whether an Arsenal move for Aubameyang would sense:
Why it makes sense
First off, Aubameyang has developed into a very good player over the last few years, and there's no doubt he'd be a very useful asset for the Gunners. He's lightning fast and an excellent dribbler, and he would add more directness to an Arsenal side that benefited greatly from the arrival of a similar player in Alexis Sánchez last summer. As far as Aubameyang's attributes go, Wenger's interest is understandable.
There's also the fact that BVB have historically not been too averse to selling their best players for the right price. Whether it's Mario Götze leaving to Bayern, Shinji Kagawa joining Manchester United or Nuri Şahin joining Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund are run for profit as well as sporting success. At 26, Aubameyang is pretty close to his prime -- selling him now would be the way for them to make maximum cash on one of their top assets.
As for the player himself, a move to Arsenal would not only secure him a move to the Premier League -- which, despite relatively little continental success of late, remains an attractive prospect -- but it'd also give him Champions League football. After Dortmund finished seventh last season, they start life under new coach Thomas Tuchel in the Europa League.
Why it doesn't make sense
BVB tend to also be pretty open about not being able to keep their best players forever, which suggests that Zorc's flat denial of an imminent sale carries some weight. There's also the matter of BVB having already allowed striker Ciro Immobile to leave to Sevilla this summer, so they won't be too eager to lose any more of their attacking options -- especially when they're as versatile as Aubameyang.
Secondly, the mooted figure of nigh-on £30m seems way too steep for Arsenal to pay. Even at their most extravagant they're relatively thrifty, and such a fee is way too much for a player who's good but not great. He'd be useful rather than a completely game-changing addition, which means that it'd be a big shock if they were willing to pay such a price.
Likelihood it happens
This rumor makes sporting sense for Arsenal, but rather less financial sense. That, combined with BVB's desire to hold onto one of their key assets suggests that this one will remain forever a rumor. Let's give it a 3 out of 10 chance of happening.
This is a post from our transfer rumors section. For news, analysis and more, check out the main SB Nation Soccer page.