Not for the first time striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s behaviour is an insoluble mystery to his football club Borussia Dortmund. Despite many favours offered by the eight-time German champions, the series of provocations by Gabon forward doesn’t seem to end.
After the third suspension due to disciplinary reasons within 18 months and under three different coaches, the future of the 28-year-old seems uncertain, Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.
Several pundits assume the striker is trying to blackmail his side to soon depart despite his until 2021 valid contract. Clubs in Europe and China are rumoured to be interested. According to the Berlin-based newspaper Bild, London-based Arsenal is about to make an offer for Aubameyang talking about a quick deal until the end of January 2018.
Many in Dortmund feel reminded of the behaviour of Ousmane Dembele who affronted the club until his move to FC Barcelona was secured. The French forward skipped training and left Germany not informing Dortmund about his destination.
Last Saturday Aubameyang missed a team meeting insisting he forgot about it as he left right after the last training session in advance of the game against VfL Wolfsburg. Before, the forward had travelled abroad for shopping and party reasons without permission. Teammates reported he was repeatedly late for practice.
“We have reached the point we can’t tolerate his behaviour anymore. He is a mystery to us; I don’t know what is in his mind,” Dortmund’s sports director Michael Zorc commented. “For years things went well, now, since about a year, he changed his attitude. He could not tell us why” Zorc stressed.
Zorc announced Aubameyang would be fined by the club and no more extras will be accepted.
Recently Aubameyang was allowed to attend the ceremony for Africa’s Footballer of The Year and join the team’s training camp three days late. The striker turned up in time but accompanied by his father and two brothers. The trio checked in on the team’s hotel without the club’s approval.
Current Dortmund coach Peter Stoeger said Aubameyang is offered the last chance now to return to the team. “We don’t believe his comments he forgot about the team meeting. It was an important meeting, the entire squad was around as it was the meeting in advance of the second half of the season,” the Austrian coach emphasised.
“My impression was he is not fully focused on our challenges. I don’t know about the reasons,” Stoeger said.
Stoeger said Aubameyang’s behaviour endangers the team spirit. Before, many team members talked about being annoyed by the striker’s antics. Recently team captain Marcel Schmelzer said the squad wouldn’t tolerate anyone offending the team’s hygiene.
Several German media now assume Aubameyang could leave as early as in January 2018 as the transfer window in Germany is open until the end of the month. Others predict the striker will leave next summer as Dortmund depends on his goals to secure the qualification for the 2018/2019 Champions League campaign. So far rumours talked about up to 70 million euros (around $85 million) transfer fee.
Aubameyang scored 13 league goals in 15 games, four in six Champions League matches and three goals in one German Cup game. “The question is when to react?” Zorc asked. “After all, he is involved in 50 percent of all our goals.”