Dortmund's Aubameyang confirms China offer

AFP
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang admits that he was the subject of a big-money offer from China, but his club Borussia Dortmund insists the Gabon striker will not leave this season.
AFP

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said on Sunday that he was the subject of a big-money offer from China, but his club Borussia Dortmund insists he will not leave this season.

Aubameyang, who is under contract until 2020, confirms in Sunday's edition of Die Welt that there was an offer from an unnamed Chinese club, but Dortmund has said he will not leave in 2017/18.

The 28-year-old had been linked to China's Tianjin Quanjian, which last month signed French striker Anthony Modeste from Dortmund's rival FC Cologne in a deal reportedly worth 35 million euros (US$41.2 million).

"Yes, I had an offer. But I think the Chinese were hard pressed to submit a bid to Borussia Dortmund," said Aubameyang.

"I think the structures are still not as professional as in Europe."

And the Gabon international admits he was tempted.

"It is normal that you think about it, if so much money is offered," he said.

"I know that many people have said that you cannot go to China, because the football (there) is a step back.

"But I think that anybody would think about it when he gets such an offer."

The Gabon hotshot, the Bundesliga's top scorer last season with 31 goals, scored in Saturday's German Super Cup home defeat to Bayern Munich.

Dortmund lost 4-5 in a penalty shootout after it finished 2-2 over 90 minutes before Marc Bartra had his crucial spot-kick saved in the preseason showdown.

Foreign stars

Meanwhile, Quanjian coach Fabio Cannavaro has warned that foreign stars who move to China in the belief that it will be an easy payday are doomed to fail.

The Italian World Cup winner signed prolific striker Modeste on loan last month from Cologne for his Chinese Super League club.

The Frenchman joins a growing list of expensive signings moving to China on big contracts, with Carlos Tevez at Shanghai Greenland Shenhua reportedly on among the highest wages in world football.

Tevez has flopped spectacularly however and looks sure to leave China at the end of the season in November.

Cannavaro, who at Tianjin has overseen the rejuvenation of Brazil forward Alexandre Pato and also manages Belgium international Axel Witsel, said: "It depends on the character.

"If the players come here with motivation, they can really enjoy it. But if the players come here just to get money, they won't enjoy it."

Speaking ahead of Sunday's CSL clash at second-placed Shanghai SIPG, Cannavaro said: "Football in China is not easy. You play in stadiums like this where if you are not fit, if you don't concentrate 100 percent, you cannot play."

Cannavaro, a former defender who lifted the World Cup as captain of Italy in 2006, denied that Modeste had swapped top-level European football in Germany for China only for a cash windfall.

"If you change countries, if you come to Asia to play, of course the money is important because it is not just about glory," said Cannavaro, who has led Tianjin to third in the CSL table.

"But I said to Tony (Modeste) about our project: we are a young club but we want to improve a lot in the next two to three years and our objective is to win the AFC Champions League."

Reuters

Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) celebrates after scoring the team's second goal against Bayern Munich with teammates Ousmane Dembele and Sebastian Rode during the German Super Cup in Dortmund on August 5, 2017.


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