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Reported Real Madrid target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will leave Borussia Dortmund this summer, according to his national-team coach.
As reported by Marc Williams of the Daily Star, when asked about why the Gabon international was left out of his most recent squad, manager Jorge Costa gave a fascinating response: “Aubameyang asked me not to be selected because he is in the process of changing club.”
Williams noted that aside from Real Madrid, the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City and Barcelona are also interested in the striker.
It was a memorable season for Aubameyang, as a string of scintillating displays at the point of the attack saw the 26-year-old cement his status as one of the best forwards in the game. Here is a recap of some of his best moments of the campaign:
Under Thomas Tuchel, the forward has made tremendous progress. Aubameyang blends his stunning raw speed and dribbling ability with composed finishing, an area of his game that held him back previously in his career. Playing through the middle on the shoulder of the last man has allowed him to be devastating in the final third.
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Aubameyang would fit in well alongside Real’s current attacking options.
He has all the attributes to become a Real Madrid player. Los Blancos are synonymous with direct attacking football and moving the ball quickly through the phases to exploit the weaknesses of opponents. It’s the kind of setup that’d see Aubameyang thrive, especially if he had Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo flanking him.
As noted by BBC Sport’s Oluwashina Okeleji, the player once told Cadena Cope he’d love to sample La Liga too:
Aubameyang: “I can’t say where. I have more family links to Madrid than Barcelona. And yes, I like Real Madrid a little more than Atletico.”
— Oluwashina Okeleji (@oluwashina) May 3, 2016
Dortmund will be desperate to keep hold of the striker, as he’s epitomised the manner in which they play under Tuchel. However, BVB have always been open to cashing in for the right price, and if there is so much interest in their star man from so many illustrious clubs, they could command a huge fee.
It’d be easy to see why Real would be intent on getting him on board too. Karim Benzema aside, there’s no other natural No. 9 available to manager Zinedine Zidane; Aubameyang would offer a frightening new dimension.
Toni Kroos Going Nowhere
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Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has dismissed speculation about a possible transfer, insisting he is happy to remain in the Spanish capital.
“I don’t have any worries [Real Madrid will look to sell], no,” said the Germany international, per James Walters of the Daily Star. “The media now says a lot hinges on the outcome of the [Champions League] final, but I have played two very good years here and have taken a central position in our game right from the beginning.”
Kroos added he feels as though his “standing is good” at the club despite links with a move to both City and United.
There’s certainly been an upturn in form from Kroos since Zidane took over at Real in January. As noted by Squawka Football, he was a crucial influence in the club’s successful UEFA Champions League campaign:
No player completed more passes in the 2015/16 Champions League campaign than Toni Kroos (883). pic.twitter.com/Am9co1zTlB
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 29, 2016
Kroos’ quality has never been in doubt. With the ball at his feet, he’s incredibly gifted, able to ping passes long distances, dictate the tempo of a game and take the pressure off his team with his quick feet. But there were times last season when the German was exposed by Los Blancos’ system.
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Kroos has been much improved under Zidane’s guidance.
With Casemiro nestled at the base of the midfield, Kroos doesn’t have to worry too much about defensive duties. He’s allowed to shuffle forward, pick possession up higher up the field and have a greater say in more dangerous areas. Provided he continues to be protected, the 26-year-old could be a key player at the Santiago Bernabeu for many years yet.