Gabonese international striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, has been a superhero of sorts since arriving at Borussia Dortmund in 2013, giving the Yellow Wall at Signal Iduna Park a steady foundation to lean on given his premiere goal-scoring exploits. But in a successful, yet turbulent season for the man who has sometimes donned Spider-Man masks during goal celebrations throughout his career, his senses are tingling for a move away and this summer could prove the right time to let their hero weave his web in new surroundings.
Ironically, the latest chapter in the Auba saga centres on a mask. After scoring the opening goal in the Ruhr derby last weekend at Schalke, a game that ended 1-1, Aubameyang donned a Nike-sponsored mask to promote The Masked Finisher campaign. This angered Dortmund’s official sponsors, Puma, as well as club officials including chief executive, Han-Joachim Watzke, who warned that he would have a ‘difficult’ conversation with the forward.
Dortmund captain, Marcel Schmelzer, was equally as stinging of Aubameyang’s stunt when he spoke to Sky Deutschland about his actions.
“We already thought he would come up with something for the derby, but what he did was stupid. None of the players knew that was coming. We have already had a word with him, the club will also have another chat with him and resolve the situation internally. Auba knows what the deal is.” – Marcel Schmelzer
Aubameyang was fined for the incident, but it did little to throw him off his game as registered a goal and assist in their 3-0 victory against Hamburg on Tuesday. Nevertheless, it’s just the latest controversy that has followed the French-born forward. Last November, Dortmund suspended Auba for their UEFA Champions League group stage match against Sporting Clube de Portugal, reportedly for taking an unsanctioned trip to Italy the day before. Then, in late January, he gave the biggest indication yet after months, if not years, of speculation that he would be open to a move in the summer during an interview with French radio station, RMC.
“If I want to go to the next level, I need to leave in summer. But we must see the proposals and if I’m going to play. Real Madrid is still a dream, but there has been too much noise.” – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
A culmination of these disturbances, as well as other behind the scenes rumblings at the club during the 2016/17 campaign, makes this summer the most ideal time to cut their losses for the right price.