Borussia Dortmund’s chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has conceded for the first time that they could one day grant Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang his wish of playing for Real Madrid.
The Gabon star is one of the most sought-after strikers in world football, with Manchester City seeing a reported £70million approach for him fail this summer.
However, the former St Etienne striker has made no secret of his desire to play for Real Madrid, saying back in July: “The only club I would leave Dortmund for are Real Madrid. If they don’t come calling, I don’t leave.
“My grandfather, the dad of my mum, always wished that I would play in Spain. Two years ago, when he died, I promised him that someday I will play for Real – and I work hard to reach that goal.
“Real Madrid is my main goal but at the moment I like it in Dortmund. If there is a chance to go to Madrid, I will immediately say yes – but at the moment there is no contact.”
Dortmund have always insisted the player is not for sale, despite claims Real Madrid had a deal agreed in principle for the player. And it appears their stance over a possible transfer has softened.
“If Real Madrid come knocking, we will talk, but it isn’t going to be easy,” Watzke told Sky Germany.
“The transfer won’t be automatic.”
Dortmund are keen not to be viewed as a selling club despite losing Mario Gotze – who returned this summer – Robert Lewandowski, Ilkay Gundogan, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mats Hummels and Shinji Kagawa in recent years.
And Watzke moved to clarify that the only big names to have gone did so because of contract situations rather than the club not being able to hold onto its stars.
“We want him to stay with us. Unlike other players that left us recently, Aubameyang has a long contract that he has extended until 2020.
“There is absolutely no pressure [to let him go]. I also don’t have the impression that he would like to go.”
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But the Dortmund chief was forthright in his views when asked by Kicker: “No [there is no chance].”
Watzke then warned players of the sacrifice they make when they choose to leave a club where you are already settled.
He added: “Any intelligent player should consider in advance what kind of environment they are moving to. When you are playing in surroundings where things are working for you, like in Dortmund, then it is quite strange to give that away again once things have finally started to work out for you after a long time settling in.”