Chelsea completed a frenetic transfer window by signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona for €12 million, reuniting the striker with Thomas Tuchel, under whom he had prospered at Borussia Dortmund.
With the loan signing of Juventus’ Denis Zakaria, the London club also bolstered its midfield.
With the €14 million (£12 million) Aubameyang signing, Chelsea’s outlay on incoming fees under the new co-owner Todd Boehly reached more than £250 million. By mutual consent, left-back Marcos Alonso left, paving the path for his transfer to Camp Nou.
“It’s an honor to be part of this team and I can’t wait to start,” Aubameyang said after completing his move to Chelsea on September 1. “I have some unfinished business with the Premier League so it’s good to be back and really exciting.”
After taking over from Roman Abramovich, Boehly had a hectic summer, casting a broad net to leave his mark and reorganize the team for Tuchel. This is especially true after Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen left on free transfers.
While Abramovich was subject to UK government penalties, Chelsea was unable to offer the center backs new contracts, thus they moved to Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively.
Chelsea spent a lot of money on central defensive reinforcements, purchasing Wesley Fofana for £75 million from Leicester and Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £33.8 million. Josko Gvardiol of RB Leipzig was the subject of a late £77.5 million bid, but it was turned down. On Thursday, the Croatian international extended his contract until 2027.
“Retweet and let everyone know: Josko Gvardiol is staying,” Leipzig announced. Chelsea could try again for him.
Aubameyang is back in London, where he spent four years playing for Arsenal before the club imploded dramatically during the first half of the previous season, and he is back with Tuchel.
At Dortmund for two seasons up until the summer of 2017, the manager had him and had a great relationship with him. He described him as “a bit crazy but nice crazy.” Under Tuchel, Aubameyang played 95 games in all competitions and scored 79 goals.
Romelu Lukaku’s loan return to Internazionale was approved by Tuchel in June and has since sought out more adaptable and mobile options up front, signing Raheem Sterling from Manchester City for £50 million.
Aubameyang, who can play either in the center or off to the left, adds to the mix. In addition, Tuchel has access to Mason Mount and Kai Havertz.
Aubameyang was forced to leave Arsenal by manager Mikel Arteta at the very end of the winter transfer window of the previous season. Before the end of the season, he scored 13 goals in 23 appearances for Barcelona.
The 33-year-old has made just one brief appearance this time around off the bench as the manager, Xavi Hernández, has focused on integrating his summer acquisitions, Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.
Aubameyang was attacked by the thieves, and the injuries to his jaw may delay his debut for Chelsea. However, his recent pictures show that the injury is not as severe as anticipated.
In the midst of a flurry of bids for a number of players, Tuchel pushed for Zakaria, a 25-year-old Swiss international who joined Juventus from Borussia Mönchengladbach in January. At the completion of the current campaign, Chelsea has the option to make the loan permanent.
Chelsea have made moves to sign Edson Lvarez of Ajax, Ibrahim Sangaré of PSV Eindhoven, and Dynamo Moscow’s Arsen Zakharyan, who has a £12.6 million release clause. The Russian team issued a statement outlining the negotiations and the acceptance of a Chelsea offer.
How Will Aubameyang fit into Chelsea?
Aubameyang formerly played for Dortmund under Thomas Tuchel, and it appears that Chelsea are now interested in him because of his experience with both the Chelsea boss and English football.
Romelu Lukaku’s departure from Chelsea this summer and Timo Werner’s return to RB Leipzig make Aubameyang a potential short-term solution to Chelsea’s long-term striking problem.
It would imply that Chelsea would likely give Aubameyang a high salary to join and would consequently view him as a starter rather than a bench option, even though they might be able to get him for a small fee.
While Aubameyang is willing to work with Tuchel again, he is believed to be hesitant about leaving Barcelona for Chelsea, in part because of his connections to Arsenal and his big pay.
Given Chelsea’s dearth of true strikers, Aubameyang would easily transition to the front, though Tuchel may decide to remain with the formation that used Kai Havertz as a false nine from the previous campaign.
Earlier in his career, the Gabonese attacker played as a wide player, but given his advanced age and sluggishness as well as Raheem Sterling’s move to Stamford Bridge, Aubameyang may not be used as much there.
Havertz would presumably be replaced by Aubameyang in the lineup because the German has consistently struggled to demonstrate his talent in a variety of unconventional positions.