Club hope striker can be part of a late flurry of signings alongside Fofana, De Jong and Gordon Barcelona value Aubameyang at £21 million
Thursday August 18 2022, 3.00pm BST, The Times
Chelsea are optimistic that a deal for the Barcelona striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can be reached as further talks are scheduled this week.
The 33-year-old former Arsenal captain is understood to be open to a move to Stamford Bridge but has not yet reached a decision on his future.
Thomas Tuchel, the Chelsea head coach, wants to be reunited with Aubameyang, with whom he worked at Borussia Dortmund, as he and the club’s interim sporting director, Todd Boehly, look to sign a striker before the transfer window closes on September 1.
Chelsea hope that Aubameyang will be part of a late flurry of signings that would include the Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana, the Everton forward Anthony Gordon and Frenkie de Jong, the Barcelona midfielder.
Barcelona are believed to value Aubameyang, who joined them on a free transfer in January, at £21 million and are looking to offload a forward this summer after signing Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.
Xavi Hernández, the head coach, does not want to lose Aubameyang and has told the Gabon forward that he is part of his plans, yet the Catalan club may look to cash in on an opportunity to reduce their inflated wage bill.
Aubameyang scored 13 goals in half a season last term but his cost to the club has increased because Arsenal supplemented his salary payments for only the first six months of his time at the Nou Camp.
Chelsea are hopeful that Aubameyang would be one of two signings from Barcelona this summer as the west London club remain confident of landing De Jong.
Agreeing a fee for the Holland midfielder has not been a concern but Barcelona was De Jong’s childhood club and he has been unwilling to leave. Barcelona have told the 25-year-old that he will have to take a salary cut, and threatened legal action, unless he departs.
De Jong wants to play in the Champions League, which leaves Chelsea confident that Stamford Bridge would be his first option if he does agree to leave.
Manchester United pursued De Jong this summer but have lost faith in signing him despite the lure of a reunion with Erik ten Hag, the manager with whom he worked at Ajax. They have turned their attention instead to the Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro.
Brendan Rodgers said Leicester City have not received any fresh bids for Wesley Fofana since they rejected Chelsea’s last offer of over £70 million.
The Times understands the 21-year-old has told the Leicester manager he wants to leave but he has not handed in a transfer request. “He’s a great kid. He’s loved by his team-mates. He’s a great personality. He’s still developing. He’s nowhere near the finished article,” Rodgers said.
The defender has started both of Leicester’s Premier League games this season and while there continues to be speculation surrounding his future Rodgers said he would be prepared to take him out of the team if he is not 100 per cent focused.
“I’ll always assess that after each training session,” Rodgers said. “Mentally he’s fine. As you can imagine as a 21-year old with the spotlight on you and talking about what you can earn at another club and where you can play, it’s a challenge.
“He’s been absolutely brilliant since the first day he arrived here, fantastic for the club when he’s played. The club really stuck by him when he was injured, and he’s come back and shown the top young talent he is. But it’s a challenge for any player, particularly a young player.”
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