Chelsea have agreed a deal with Barcelona to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with Marcos Alonso going the other way.
Sky Sports News reported early on Deadline Day that Chelsea were closing in on an agreement with Barcelona for Aubameyang. Chelsea are understood to be paying in the region of £10m plus Alonso for the former Arsenal striker.
Aubameyang has been given permission to fly to the UK for his medical and to finalise the deal, with personal terms not expected to be a problem.
Aubameyang suffered a minor fracture of his jaw in an attack on his home over the weekend.
The Gabon forward, who is expected to be out of action for three weeks, can resume non-contact training next week.
Aubameyang moved to Barcelona on a free transfer from Arsenal in January. He had three years left on his contract.
Although Thomas Tuchel has been reluctant to talk about Aubameyang in public he is keen to work again with a player who scored 79 goals for him in two seasons at Borussia Dortmund.
Tuchel has already spent £268m this summer on players, including Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly.
Chelsea need instant impact
Sky Sports Adam Smith:
“Some players stay your players because you were very, very close – and Auba is one of those players,” Tuchel told journalists last month, effectively validating reports Chelsea were eying a move for his former striker.
While the Gabon international created headlines for the right and wrong reasons during his time at Arsenal, Aubameyang simply produced goals at Borussia Dortmund under Tuchel – with 56 Bundesliga goals in 63 appearances across two campaigns.
That partnership ended when Dortmund sacked Tuchel at the end of the 2016/17 season and Aubameyang joined Arsenal in the winter window of 2018 for a then-club-record £60m – hitting the ground running with 10 league goals in just 12 starts.
However, his goal ratio dipped incrementally over four campaigns and culminated with him being stripped as club captain for disciplinary reasons before leaving the club by mutual consent six weeks later and joining Barcelona on a free transfer.
In true Jekyll and Hyde form, the flamboyant striker once again burst from the blocks in La Liga, averaging nearly one goal per game last term – helping the club climb from fifth in the league to finish runners-up behind rivals Real Madrid.
However, Barca have been busy in the transfer market this summer amid an ongoing controversy surrounding their rush to raise capital and register incomings, which include former Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.
Barcelona opened the door for Aubameynang to leave the club after only seven months at the Nou Camp – making around £6.5m and acquiring Marcos Alonso in the process – and Aubameyang’s old mentor has come calling. But why?
Some players stay your players because you were very, very close – and Auba is one of those players
The 33-year-old would slot seamlessly into Tuchel’s plans, having worked together so fruitfully during the two-year period which ended five years ago.
Additionally, Aubameyang has a track record of making instant impacts and would fill the No 9 void left by Romelu Lukaku, who failed to ignite upon his £97.5m return to the club last season and was loaned back to former club Inter Milan this term.
Chelsea have been struggling with an age-old issue during the German’s tenure – converting chances. Albeit only five games in, the Blues have the seventh-worst expected-goal differential in the division.
Indeed, midfielder Mason Mount tops the club’s chart for league goals during Tuchel’s reign, followed by the versatile Kai Havertz – who has recently adopted a false No 9 role – holding midfielder and penalty-taker Jorginho and bit-part winger Christian Pulisic.
As the graphics below reveal, Aubameyang also offers versatility and positional fluidity – having worked the left flank and central positions in equal measure during his time at the Emirates.
On song, the striker is clinical and the goal map below highlights what he could offer Chelsea: goals, in and around central areas inside the box, and is likely to primarily take up a central position – allowing summer-signing Raheem Sterling to be deployed down his favoured wide channel.
With the Blues sat ninth in the Premier League table after five games and only two wins under their belt, Tuchel will be hoping his former favourite can make another explosive impact.