Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted he always knew a deal for Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would prove “complicated”.
It is understood there is an agreement in principle between Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund for the Gabon forward, who was widely reported to have travelled to London on Tuesday to finalise a potential £60million switch.
However, there is the added issue of Dortmund first seeking assurances over a replacement – which could well be Michy Batshuayi from Chelsea, themselves looking to bring in Gunners forward Olivier Giroud.
The France striker came off the bench during the 3-1 Premier League defeat at Swansea on Tuesday night, after which Wenger was pressed on whether he was confident of completing a deal for Aubameyang before the 2300 deadline on January 31.
“Every detail can make deals and the deals nowadays are so complicated that, so long as you have not finished it, you cannot be too confident – it doesn’t help too much,” the Arsenal manager said.
The best Gunners news direct to your Facebook timeline: Like our dedicated Arsenal Facebook page.
Wenger, though, did concede Giroud was likely to have played his last game for Arsenal as the France targetman goes in search of more regular first-team football to boost his own World Cup hopes.
Giroud would fall further down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium were Aubameyang to come in.
It now appears Stamford Bridge is the striker’s preferred destination, allowing Giroud to remain in London, with a fee of around £18million suggested.
With the German transfer window set to close at 1700 on Wednesday, significantly earlier than in England, there could yet be some last-minute negotiating between a number of parties to push the Aubameyang deal through.
Blues boss Antonio Conte, however, stressed Belgium forward Batshuayi may yet feature in the Premier League match against Bournemouth on Wednesday evening – which would throw up another knock-on effect to any potential transfer merry-go-round ahead of the deadline.