Premier League • England

Chelsea refuse to sanction cheap striker sale after making unrealistic request to prime suitors

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Raheem Sterling of Chelsea after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League match at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea will not be letting Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang return to Barcelona on the cheap this summer, a report has claimed.

Aubameyang joined Chelsea from Barcelona back in September, but has rarely been happy since. The striker has been eyeing a return to his former club, whom he recently visited to celebrate a win in El Clasico over Real Madrid.

Chelsea haven’t been too happy with Aubameyang’s conduct in that regard. Therefore, the chances of them sanctioning his favoured exit wish have been in doubt.

Reports on Saturday, though, indicated that Barcelona have begun speaking to Chelsea about taking Aubameyang back. Negotiations, in fact, might already be at an advanced stage.

An update on Sunday via Mundo Deportivo has subsequently provided a reality check to Barcelona. If they are to sign him, they will have to give back most of the €15million fee they received from Chelsea for Aubameyang in the first place.

Therefore, Chelsea’s asking price will be in the region of £13m. It seems that under no circumstance will they be allowing Aubameyang to leave for a low valuation.

The former Arsenal captain remains under contract at Stamford Bridge until the end of next season.

Since joining Chelsea – initially to reunite with Thomas Tuchel, which didn’t last long – Aubameyang has only scored three goals from 19 appearances. In contrast, during his half a season with Barcelona before, he scored 13 goals from 24 games.

A move to the MLS didn’t appeal to Aubameyang over the winter, since he still feels capable of making an impact in Europe. It might not be with Chelsea, but for it to be with Barcelona, there will have to be a relatively significant financial effort for a player of his age.

Chelsea unlikely to get their money back for Aubameyang

Indeed, Aubameyang will be 34 years old by the start of next season. That, coupled with his contract situation, suggests Chelsea might be holding out for an unrealistic transfer value.

From his perspective, Aubameyang would be willing to lower his salary in order to return to Barcelona. But first of all, the two clubs must come to an agreement. A compromise currently seems less likely between them.

Barcelona are making their move already, though it seems they have a lot of work to do in order to convince Chelsea that they are the right club to do business with.

There is still a chance for Barcelona to buy the striker back, which would allow him to link up with Robert Lewandowski again. However, even after his deterioration in form, Aubameyang will still seemingly cost an eight-figure fee.

If Barcelona don’t want to pay it, it is debatable as to whether or not anyone else would. Chelsea might just be better off taking what they can for Aubameyang rather than losing him for free in 2024.

But perhaps they are just delaying things to see what their next manager would think of him before coming to a conclusion.

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