Arsenal’s club-record deal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in the balance and north London rivals Tottenham could hold the key to whether the deal is completed, according to reports.
The Gunners sent a delegation of officials to Dortmund to negotiate a fee for Aubameyang and finally made a breakthrough over the weekend, with the German side agreeing to sell for a figure of £55m.
However, the original deal was struck under the assumption that Olivier Giroud would move the other way on loan – but he has rejected the move and wants to stay in London.
In a confusing transfer merry-go-round, it is now Michy Batshuayi who seems likeliest to replace Aubameyang at Dortmund, with Chelsea working on a deal to sign Giroud to replace the Belgian.
But now German publication Kicker report that the three-way deal has hit a snag, with Antonio Conte not keen on signing Giroud and instead preferring to sign Fernando Llorente.
The Italian coach knows Llorente well from their time together at Juventus and tried to sign him in the summer, while he is of the belief that the Spaniard can be a good influence on out-of-form compatriot Alvaro Morata.
There is just one problem: Tottenham do not want to sell Llorente, and if Chelsea do not sign a backup striker then they will not permit Batshuayi to join Dortmund – and if Dortmund do not sign a new striker they will not permit Aubameyang to join Arsenal.
The BBC’s David Ornstein also reports that Chelsea have enquired about Llorente, with Spurs asking for Batshuayi in a straight swap in response.
But the Belgian now has hit heart set on moving to Dortmund, where he would be the main striker and focal point, and does not want to swap being Morata’s backup at Stamford Bridge for being Harry Kane’s backup at Spurs.