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Options drawn up amid Aubameyang impasse

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Arsene Wenger yesterday revealed that Arsenal are ready to look at other striking targets because a deal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not close despite club officials being in Germany for the past few days.

Wenger dampened the mood of Arsenal supporters who believed that a deal for the striker was done when Henrikh Mkhitaryan appeared to welcome his former team-mate’s arrival, saying “Yo Pierre, you want to come out here?” during a video clip to announce his own arrival that was posted and then deleted by the club last night.

Borussia Dortmund have been holding out for nearly £60 million (S$110.4 million) for their Gabon international striker, which would be a record transfer fee for Arsenal.

He has reportedly agreed personal terms but trained yesterday with Dortmund, who want Olivier Giroud on loan as part of the deal.

Arsenal have set a deadline to complete the deal within the next day, with the transfer window closing a week tomorrow.

“Confident or not confident? I don’t know,” Arsenal manager Wenger said at his press conference ahead of today’s League Cup semi-final return leg against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium.

“At the moment, we are not close to doing any deal, whether it’s Aubameyang or anyone else… We have other things in mind as well and we have plenty of opportunities in different positions. The final decision is not made.”

What the Gunners will know by today is whether they will be through to the League Cup final.

The tie is poised at 0-0 and Chelsea manager Antonio Conte expects an end-to-end second leg.

“There is a target for both teams to reach the final,” said the Italian. “For this reason, after a 0-0 draw, the game will be very open.

“When you play against Arsenal, for sure you must be prepared to suffer without the ball. They like to bring many players in the box and find combinations. For this reason, we must pay great attention.”

Conte will be without the injured Alvaro Morata and Cesc Fabregas but vowed to field a strong team. Giroud and Danny Welbeck are out for Arsenal.

When asked at his press conference if he would pick youth players, Conte replied: “No… we are in the position to reach the final.”

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