Arsene Wenger admits a deal to bring Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Arsenal remains “far from close” as a lengthy saga drags on.
The Gunners identified the Gabon international as a top target once it became clear that Alexis Sanchez would be heading out of Emirates Stadium.
He has departed for Manchester United, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving in the opposite direction, but no progress has been made in the pursuit of Aubameyang.
Goal revealed on Thursday that Dortmund are growing frustrated at Arsenal’s reluctance to meet their asking price for the 28-year-old, with two bids having been knocked back.
Wenger has now confirmed that no agreement is in the pipeline, although the Frenchman claims there could be movement before the January deadline passes, telling reporters on Friday: “I cannot tell you more. We have nothing to announce. At the moment, we stay where we are.
“We keep our players.
“We have added Mkhitaryan and lost Sanchez.
“Will anything else happen? At the moment, I don’t know.
“It is far from close.
“It is possible we will recruit someone else but I won’t give you a name.”
Talk of an imminent arrival for Aubameyang has fuelled speculation that Olivier Giroud could be moved out by Arsenal, with the France international set to face further competition for striking spots.
Wenger, though, maintains that he wants the 31-year-old to stay and will only reluctantly sanction a move if a suitable replacement is brought in.
He added on Giroud’s future: “I have consistent exchange with him. We speak about it a lot.
“He has played a lot of games and scored important goals.
“He is an important player and every player has a lot of respect for him.
“He will get more games and can only leave if someone else comes in.
“I want Olivier to stay.
“If nobody comes in, nobody goes out.
“Maybe one or two young players out on loan but the experienced side of the squad stays.”