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The CEO of Borussia Dortmund, Hans-Joachim Watzke, says a breakdown in the relationship between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the Borussia Dortmund fans was a key factor in the Bundesliga side’s decision to sell the striker to Arsenal.
Watzke caveated his statement by admitting that Aubemeyang’s loyalty to Dortmund 18 months prior also played in his favour when the Gabon international came to push for a move.
In an opinionated interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (cited on the Dortmund official website) Watzke outlined how the Aubameyang deal played out in the aftermath of teammate Ousmane Dembele’s summer switch to Barcelona and why Dortmund won’t be so accommodating in the future.
“He [Aubameyang] clearly told us that he would stay for the season, partly as a reaction to the departure of Dembélé,” said Watzke.
“But in his case, there was also the fact that he believed we should be grateful towards him because in 2016, when Hummels, Gündogan and Mkhitaryan all left, he declined some very lucrative offers and pledged himself to BVB. There’s an element of truth to that.
“We would have struggled if Auba had been part of the 2016 exodus. This was a feeling that resonated with us, too. And so, among other reasons, that’s why we ultimately did it.
“But above all, it was because we had the feeling things would never return to normal with Auba in the second half of the season.
“Not with the fans. Not with the team. Too much had broken down due to his behaviour. The sum of 64 million was not so high that we had to do it for financial reasons alone.
He added: “I have told the team in no uncertain terms that the next player to try something like that will fail miserably. He will have a huge problem.
“Stock-listed company or not: the next player who tries to put us under pressure by withholding performances or even striking will not get away with it and will be made to sit in the stands. They all know that now.
“That’s a public statement that I can measure myself with! Following Dembélé and Aubameyang, there is now an overriding interest in the club – we need to get a better structure into our squad again.”