Manchester United and Manchester City transfer target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has opened the door for a summer transfer war after revealing he wants to leave St Etienne at the end of the season.
The Gabon international claimed at the weekend that both Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini wanted to add his services during the January transfer window.
“There have been contacts with the Manchester clubs. I’m being followed in Italy too, especially by Fiorentina, and another big club,” the £10million-rated ‘King of Bling’ was quoted as saying by The Sun at the weekend, having gained the nickname after wearing crystal-covered boots last month.
However, the 23-year-old insists he’s not interested in leaving Ligue 1 during the January transfer window, and wants to finish the season in France before moving to another destination.
"I say it again, I am not thinking about leaving. I have a lot of interest, but the best solution is to stay at St Etienne and leave in the summer,” Aubameyang has now told newspaper L'Equipe.
"It is very clear in my mind that these will be my last six months with St Etienne. Then, I don't know. It is nice to already have offers from England and I hope to leave for a club that will allow me to keep improving. There could be a surprise, but I am not planning on staying in France."
Manchester United aren’t short of options in attack, with Ferguson’s forward options comprising of Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck.
Indeed, the Red Devils are top scorers in the Premier League by some distance this term, and may look to strengthen in other positions as a first priority at Old Trafford.
Manchester City are another team who don’t lack options up-front, with Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli all vying for chances at the Etihad Stadium.
And, despite a training ground bust-up post-Christmas, Mancini insists compatriot Balotelli won’t be leaving the Citizens, irrespective of speculation to the contrary.
Aubemayang’s comments mean both clubs are set to miss out on the player this month, if they did want to add him to their ranks, but the door has been left open for a summer transfer war between the two Premier League title chasers.