Chelsea have been issued an ominous warning over manager Thomas Tuchel’s reported pursuit of his former Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
“Jurgen Klopp never wanted him back.”
Tuchel is reportedly keen to be reunited with his former Dortmund striker at Stamford Bridge following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner this summer.
Both signings have unexpectedly proven to be expensive mistakes for the Blues, with £97.5million man Lukaku returning to Inter Milan on loan just one season after his huge transfer back to London, while Werner has returned to RB Leipzig for a little over half the £47.5m fee the Germans were paid years ago.
With the fine sand fast trickling out in the hourglass, Chelsea are running out of time to replace them in their search for a new striker to lead the line this term as the transfer window closes in three weeks time. Ex-Arsenal man Aubameyang is reportedly one of their targets, the supposed black sheep who has also fallen down the pecking order at Barcelona following the Catalan club’s recent spending spree.
However, although the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha arriving at the Nou Camp this summer have been warmly welcomed by all and sundry at Camp Nou, manager Xavi intimated that Aubameyang remains a part of this plans and has no desire to lose him, but this may be out of Barca’s hands if Chelsea were to lodge a bid, as the Catalan club are in dire straights financially still and need to raise further funds.
As things stand, Jules Kounde – who snubbed Chelsea to join the Spanish giants – is still unregistered ahead of their season opener and the remaining option would be to sell either Aubameyang, Memphis Depay or Frenkie de Jong would to scrounge up enough cash in the bank to officially add the French defender to their squad list.
Tuchel himself seems most keen on Aubamehyang, with the manager this week reminiscing on his past close relationship with his former charge from their time together at Dortmund – which saw the striker finish top scorer in the German coach’s two campaigns in charge.
But former Blues striker Tony Cascarino has sent a word of warning to his old club.
“He is a great finisher and a fabulous footballer, but my only concern is that Jurgen Klopp never went after him,” the Weekend Sports Breakfast host said on talkSPORT.
“He worked with Aubameyang a lot at Dortmund, but Jurgen was never interested in re-signing him.
“He was brilliant for Klopp as well, but never chose to bring him in – what does that tell you?
“There’s one thing having a player you had in your 20s and him excelling for you, which Aubameyang did at Dortmund, and then having him again at 33.”
Despite his reservations over his character, Cascarino is confident the striker could be a success in Tuchel’s side on the pitch.
“If Chelsea play a counter-attack style, Aubameyang will get goals,” he said.
“Chelsea created a lot of chances last year and Romelu Lukaku didn’t take enough, and neither did Timo Werner.
“But Aubameyang can do that, he is a good finisher.
“So if Thomas Tuchel wants to play a certain way, to attack and punish teams on the counter, the movement of their players has always been exceptional, and if they add a clinical striker to that I can see Aubameyang getting goals.”
Tuchel refused to comment on the chances of Aubameyang moving to Stamford Bridge when quizzed on the rumours earlier this week, but did reveal his ‘close bond’ with the striker. Aubameyang’s goals helped Dortmund to the German Cup with Tuchel in charge.
“This is totally separate from anything that is happening now, but I enjoyed a lot working with Auba while I was at Dortmund,” said the Chelsea boss.
“Some players stay your players because you were very, very close. And Auba is one of those players.
“There was always straight away this close bond. They always stay your players in a way.”
Asked about the striker’s sour exit from Arsenal following his falling out with Gunners’ boss Mikel Arteta, Tuchel added: “I experienced no issues with him.
“This has nothing to do with the situation in Arsenal, about which I will also not comment out of respect.
“In Dortmund there was never an issue.”