Manchester City looks to be on the verge of signing Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for £59 million ($114 million) — making him one of the most expensive transfers in English football history.
Sky Sports was the first to report that City is in talks with the German side to buy Aubameyang, but now Goal.com is saying that thanks to a bidding war — which includes Manchester United and Real Madrid — Borussia Dortmund has upped the asking price to €75 million, or £59 million.
The figure is roughly level with the Premier League record £59.7 million Manchester United paid for Ángel Di María in 2014.
City is no stranger to spending that kind of money on a single player. Last year it paid £55 million for Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and £49 million for Raheem Sterling — a transfer record for an English footballer.
Aubameyang has scored 54 goals at Borussia Dortmund since joining the club in 2013. In 2015 he signed a new five-year contract with the team, saying at the time: “Every part of me wants to be here and I have never wanted to leave.” He also has 49 caps for Gabon’s national side, and is the CAF’s African Footballer of the Year.
As a striker he’s most known for his incredible pace and versatility, having begun his career as a winger. His athletic goal celebrations — including aerial flips — have also made him a fan-favourite.
Manchester City will be looking for a more successful season next year than the one just passed. The club managed to scrape a fourth place in the 2015/16 Premier League — enough for a Champions League qualification, but a far cry from what it would have expected at the start of the season.
Perhaps recognising it needed to turn things around, the club signed Pep Guardiola as its new manager in February, to replace Manuel Pellegrini, in a three-year contract. Goal.com says Guardiola’s presence is a big reason why Aubameyang would want to move to City.
The transfer flurry has already kicked off in the Premier League. On Wednesday, City’s crosstown rivals Manchester United confirmed new manager Jose Mourinho’s first signing — Villarreal’s Eric Bailly will join the side from next season, for a reported fee of £30 million.
Despite the increasingly high transfer fees of the Premiership, money seems to be no object to City Football Group (CFG), City’s owner. It could even be looking to expand its interest into East-Asia, according to City AM, having sold a 13% stake to state-backed China Media Capital Holdings last year.
“Melbourne City, New York City and Yokohama F. Marinos [which CFG also owns] are developing well,” Al Mubarak, the group’s chairman, told City’s in-house TV channel. “We have an ambition as a football group to have an organisation that is global and will have multiple clubs that is a part of it.”
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