Premier League • England

Aubameyang to Chelsea pieces fall into place, as reporter cites two Tuchel clues that mesh with Barcelona problem

Barcelona striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

A Sky Sports reporter detailed two instances Thomas Tuchel has publicly stuck up for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang amid mounting speculation linking him with a shock switch to Chelsea.

The 33-year-old striker only moved to Barcelona in January. The ex-Arsenal hitman joined on a deal running until the summer of 2025. However, the recent arrival of Robert Lewandowski has cast a long shadow over his future in Spain.

Lewandowski will be installed as the sole centre-forward and Barca can call upon the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres and Raphinha on the wings.

Chelsea have loaned Romelu Lukaku back to Inter Milan, while Timo Werner is drawing strong links with a return to RB Leipzig. As such, they are beginning to look light at the tip of their attack.

As such, recent reports have put Chelsea in the frame to snap up Aubameyang.

Indeed, yesterday’s Transfer Gossip revealed part Blues owner, Todd Boehly, was considering a move. Sky Sports then reported Aubameyang’s name had come up in discussions between Chelsea and Barca officials.

Now, speaking on The Transfer Show, Sky Sports reporter, Dharmesh Sheth, detailed two times Tuchel has backed Aubameyang publicly in the face of criticism.

Sheth also explained why the move isn’t as fanciful as some might think. However, he did hint it may have to wait until 2023.

Aubameyang and Tuchel have “fantastic relationship”

“The name of Aubameyang has been broached when there’s been informal discussions between Chelsea and Barcelona.

“Aubameyang’s Barcelona contract runs until 2025, but there’s a break clause in that contract in the summer of 2023.

“It should be said though that Aubameyang has got a fantastic relationship with Thomas Tuchel.

“If you go back to when Tuchel was Borussia Dortmund manager, Aubameyang played under him for two seasons (2015-17). In that time, he played 95 games for Dortmund and scored 79 goals.

“If you fast forward to December 2021 when Aubameyang was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy. I attended a news conference with Tuchel and because of the relationship they shared, the question was asked to him what do you make of the situation?”

Sky replayed that particular press conference with Tuchel. The Blues boss said: “He was a very important player for me. We had a very close relationship until today.

“When we meet it’s still always very nice. And I can only say the best things about Auba as a player and as a person.

“I feel sorry for him that he’s in trouble. This is not where he should be with his quality and his positive character.”

Tuchel went on to distance himself from the controversy marring Arsenal and Aubameyang at the time. But Sheth went then recalled another time Tuchel stuck up for his former striker.

Chelsea transfer not that fanciful – Sheth

“Another time when Aubameyang got in trouble with Arsenal before the north London derby when he got stuck in traffic, he actually got dropped for the game,” continued Sheth.

“The next Tuchel press conference he was asked the question about Aubameyang and he said he often turned up late [at Dortmund] but he would always have a big smile on his face and you can’t stay angry with Auba for very long.

“It might not be as fanciful as people are making out. These are just initial informal discussions and the name just happened to come up because Chelsea and Barcelona are talking about other deals.

“Barcelona are probably looking at a load of players who maybe they need to get off the wage bill. Would Aubameyang be one of those I wonder?”

Barcelona do need to sell players before several of their new signings can be officially registered. With Lewandowski on board, Aubameyang is as likely a candidate as any to be forced out – if Chelsea make a move.