Barcelona are hoping to capitalise on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s disciplinary problems at Arsenal and could offer Ousmane Dembele in a swap deal for the forward.
Aubameyang has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy and will not be available for selection for the clash with West Ham on Wednesday after returning late to the club from a trip abroad.
A club statement read: ‘We expect all our players, particularly our captain, to work to the rules and standards we have all set and agreed. We are fully focused on tomorrow’s match.’
While the 32-year-old could return to the Gunners side as soon as Saturday at Leeds United, his future at the Emirates is now very uncertain and could leave as early as next month in the January transfer window.
Barcelona are in need of a forward and would love to add Aubameyang to their ranks, although his huge wages at Arsenal will prove prohibitive amid their financial struggles.
The Gabon international earns a basic £250,000-a-week with bonuses on top and he is reportedly unwilling to take a pay-cut if he does leave Arsenal.
The Independent report that Barcelona would look to get round this by offering Dembele in a swap deal, with the Frenchman only thought to be earning £30,000-£50,000 less at Barca than Aubameyang is at Arsenal.
Dembele’s Barcelona career has been something of a flop since joining from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 for an initial £97m
The France international has scored 30 goals in 124 games since then and is yet to truly realise his great potential.
The 24-year-old has made just three La Liga appearances so far this season and his contract expires at the end of the season, with no new deal looking likely.
Barcelona would like to receive something in return for the forward rather than let him depart on a free transfer in the summer and a swap for Aubameyang may be their best way of doing so.
Aubameyang’s contract runs until 2023 after signing a big-money new deal in 2020, one that has not really proved much value to the Gunners so far.
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