Borussia Dortmund coach Peter Stoger has said he assumes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will remain at the club this month despite speculation linking him with a move to Arsenal.
Sources told ESPN FC on Tuesday that Arsenal had held talks with Dortmund about the transfer of Aubameyang but, talking to Sport Bild, Stoger said “I’d like to think that” when asked if he thought the striker would remain at the club.
Stoger also said “a lack of understanding” was behind Aubameyang’s suspension from the squad for Sunday’s draw against Wolfsburg.
“Disappointment is the wrong word for it,” Stoger said. “It’s rather a lack of understanding, because I can’t really comprehend such a behaviour. But admittedly I am not the only one.
“I actually got to know him as a decent lad, and that’s why it’s even harder to understand. But I am not personally disappointment, in the sense that it affects me more than the squad or the club.”
Stoger, who replaced Peter Bosz in December, added that he does not expect a team “to march lock-step like in the army” but felt he needed to act in this case.
“I am here to develop a team, and thus I make the decisions which help the club in the long run, even though they might not be ideal for short-term success,” he said.
Playing without Aubameyang, who has scored 13 goals in 15 appearances this season, Dortmund, despite several good chances, drew 0-0 with Wolfsburg on Sunday.
“We knew the decision [to suspend Aubameyang] would cause some noise. But we all want to develop a team spirit here. We can still achieve a lot with it,” he said.
“I don’t rate fines as the only consequence. I never once fined anyone in my entire career. Somebody shows the cash, and that’s it? My punishment tends to be at the weekend, like in this case.”
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.