Chelsea have brutally told an attacker who is surplus to requirements he can only head to Saudi Arabia next, with a European transfer no longer on the cards according to Fabrizio Romano.
Chelsea went on a huge spending spree in the previous two transfer windows, bringing in a host of players for over £600million. But in order to give Mauricio Pochettino money to spend without breaking Financial Fair Play rules, they have had to engineer a mass clear-out in recent weeks.
N’Golo Kante has gone to Al Ittihad on a free transfer, while Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy have followed him to the Saudi Pro League by joining Al Hilal and Al Ahli respectively.
Chelsea have also allowed several of their top stars to go to Premier League rivals. Mason Mount has signed for Manchester United, Arsenal spent £65m on Kai Havertz and Mateo Kovacic is now a Manchester City player.
European clubs have also benefitted from Chelsea’s exodus, with Cesar Azpilicueta returning to Spain with Atletico Madrid and Ruben Loftus-Cheek heading to Milan. Christian Pulisic will soon be announced as Milan’s latest signing, too.
Striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is another player who is looking to force his way out of Stamford Bridge before next season.
He has endured a torrid time at Chelsea, scoring just three goals in 22 appearances last term. He joined the Blues to reunite with his former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel, but the German was sacked only one match later.
Aubameyang has attempted to force through a return to Barcelona, whom he played for between January and August last year. However, they are now pursuing different targets, reducing the 34-year-old’s options.
Fabrizio Romano provides latest on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Aubameyang has recently been tipped to follow the likes of Kante, Koulibaly and Mendy by joining a Saudi team. Indeed, on July 4 it emerged that Steven Gerrard is eyeing Aubameyang as one of his first Al Ettifaq signings.
Writing on Twitter, Romano has moved to clarify Aubameyang’s situation. He states that Chelsea are ‘insisting’ on selling the forward to a Saudi team, rather than letting him remain in Europe.
Negotiations are ‘ongoing’ between Chelsea and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), who own several of the top teams in the country. At the moment, those discussions are not ‘advanced’, although that could soon change.
Romano reveals that European teams are struggling to meet Aubameyang’s wage demands. Rather than letting him run down his contract and leave on a free transfer next summer, Chelsea are pushing to get him off their books now and have therefore told him he needs to join a Saudi outfit next.
While the Gabon international will be able to earn a big wage in the Middle East, such a move will prevent him from playing in the UEFA Champions League.
Winger Hakim Ziyech is another player Chelsea are likely to force out ahead of next season. The Moroccan was hopeful of joining Paris Saint-Germain in January, but Chelsea repeatedly sent the wrong paperwork and the deadline subsequently passed. He was recently closing in on a switch to Al Nassr, only to fail a medical.