Borussia Dortmund coach Peter Stoger won’t let Arsenal’s interest in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang interfere with the striker’s potential involvement in the upcoming Bundesliga match against Freiburg.
“If someone’s fit, you will play him,” Stoger told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s match.
Aubameyang, 28, missed back-to-back Bundesliga matches for Dortmund as Arsenal have targeted the club’s top scorer as a potential January transfer.
However, the Gabon international was not left out of the squad to avoid a potential transfer-threatening injury, but rather because of disciplinary reasons.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Stoger has said that he will not hesitate to call Aubameyang up to the match day squad should the attacker continue to train well.
“He’s made a good impression in training,” Stoger said. “And if he continues to put in the work, he has qualified for the squad.”
When asked whether he could leave Aubameyang out of the squad to avoid an injury, Stoger replied he does “not have this thought.”
He said: “The risk in training is as high as in a match. You never have security. And if someone’s fit, you will play him. No, this idea would not cross my mind.”
With several reporters from England in Dortmund, the club refused to take any questions on the ongoing talks with Arsenal. Media director Sascha Fligge maintained the club never comments on transfer rumours.
Dortmund have drawn their first two games of 2018, and have dropped to sixth in the Bundesliga standings, but only one point behind second-placed Bayer Leverkusen.
One of the players impressing for Dortmund in those two matches against Wolfsburg and Hertha Berlin was England youth international Jadon Sancho, who played both games from start to finish and set up Shinji Kagawa for the team’s only goal of 2018 so far, the equaliser against Hertha.
Austrian coach Stoger praised the youngster, answering in English. “[He’s a] very good player, very fast player, one-on-one very good. Very good, career is only beginning. We’ll have a lot of fun with him.”
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.