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Dortmund won’t sell top performers, says CEO Watzke

Dortmund won’t sell top performers, says CEO Watzke

Hans-Joachim Watzke

BERLIN (Reuters) – Borussia Dortmund will hold on to all their key players in the winter transfer window, club CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said on Tuesday as the club looks to build on a fine first half to the Bundesliga season.

“I can rule out transfer of any of our top performers now,” Watzke told reporters at the team’s winter training camp in Dubai. “That’s definitely not on our agenda.”

Speculation regarding the future of playmaker Ilkay Guendogan and Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been mounting in recent weeks with the Germany midfielder recently saying that he had not yet decided whether to extend his 2017 contract with the Ruhr valley club, who are currently second in the standings.

Aubameyang, who tops the Bundesliga scorers list with 18 goals, is already on the wish list for several clubs and his price tag was boosted last week after he was named African footballer of the year.

Dortmund captain Mats Hummels has also been repeatedly linked with a possible move, with the player having said in the past he could see himself playing aboard at some point in his career.

“Every week there is some nonsense (in the press). Guendogan and Hummels, they were supposed to be gone last season. This will start all over again,” said Watzke.

Several top players have left Dortmund, the 2011 and 2012 German champions, in recent seasons after being lured away by bigger clubs. The list includes World Cup winner Mario Goetze and Poland captain Robert Lewandowski, who both joined Bayern.

Dortmund trail leaders Bayern Munich by eight points in the Bundesliga, with the league resuming on Jan 22 after a one-month winter break.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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