Arsenal: So this is how they are going to balls it up

DORTMUND, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 21: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund looks on during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur at Signal Iduna Park on November 21, 2017 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
DORTMUND, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 21: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Borussia Dortmund looks on during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur at Signal Iduna Park on November 21, 2017 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images) /
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Borussia Dortmund are reportedly growing frustrated with Arsenal’s hesitance to negotiate regarding their move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. I guess this is how they are going to balls it all up.

Arsenal are one of the more frustrating football clubs to support. If it is the hope that kills, then I have been hung, drawn quartered on annually for the last 20 years. That is what this club does: offers hope, before stealing it away. And now, because of the historic failure when victory seems almost assured, I am hesitant to ever allow myself to be optimistic.

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This is especially true when it comes to the club’s transfer dealings. Take, for example, the summer of Petr Cech. In the previous two summer windows, Arsene Wenger had signed Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. The club ended the previous year with a lovely run of form, showing signs that they could challenge for the title with just one or two key additions.

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Instead, they signed just one player: Petr Cech. They added no outfield players to their squad, Santi Cazorla suffered an injury midway through the year, the campaign crumbled, and Leicester City went on to win the title with just 81 points. If there was ever a time for hope, it was that summer. Arsenal, in thoroughly characteristic fashion, dashed that hope spectacularly.

And now, I find myself in exactly the same situation: Sanchez departing seemed like the beginning of the end for Wenger and this recent iteration of the Arsenal team. But replacing the Chilean with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, a player of similar quality and potential, if not quite the same reputation and calibre, and then upgrading the likes of Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang suddenly seemed like progress was being made.

But since the Mkhitaryan signing was announced on Monday and the Gunners have solely turned their attentions to Aubameyang, with Ivan Gazidis and Huss Fahmy travelling to Dortmund to thrash out a deal, only stalling developments have surfaced.

First, it was the anger of Dortmund at Wenger’s apparent willingness to speak publicly about the negotiations. It seemed like a harsh reaction to what was a rather bland comment that, if anything, protected not exposed the transfer. Then came the rejection of a £50 million offer, which did not, crucially, involve Olivier Giroud. And now, there are growing reports that Dortmund are growing tired of Arsenal’s dilly-dallying, frustrated by their hesitance to reach a fairly simple valuation of £60 million.

That is not all that surprising. Dortmund are dealing with notoriously stringent and cheap buyers. It was never going to be simple to agree on a fee. Wenger once rejected the chance to sign Mark Schwarzer because he felt Fulham, his then club, valued him too highly, at £1 million above the bid that he had previously submitted.

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And for a fan like myself who perennially waits to be let down, this is just the news that I was expecting. It would not shock me one bit if Arsenal ballsed this all up, failed to sign Aubameyang, miss out on the Champions League, and then lose Ozil for nothing. It’s just what this club is good at. Dashing hopes.