Chelsea have been sent a warning over their reported pursuit of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
“Jurgen Klopp never wanted him back.”
Thomas Tuchel is said to be keen to bring his former Borussia Dortmund striker to Stamford Bridge, following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner this summer.
Both signings have proven 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 re-joined RB Leipzig for a little over half the £47.5m fee they paid the Germans to sign him two years ago.
Chelsea are running out of time to replace them and find a new striker to lead the line this term with less than three weeks until the transfer window closes.
One of their targets is ex-Arsenal man Aubameyang, who has fallen down the pecking order at Barcelona following the Catalan club’s spending spree.
Despite the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha arriving at the Nou Camp this summer, manager Xavi has said Aubameyang remains a part of this plans and doesn’t want to lose him, but Barca may have no choice if Chelsea lodge a bid, due to the club’s need to raise further funds.
Barca pulled another ‘lever’ this week with the sale of a stake in their in-house media production company Barca Studios, which allowed them to register four or their five summer arrivals.
However, Jules Kounde – who snubbed Chelsea to join the Spanish giants – remains unregistered ahead of their season opener and selling one of Aubameyang, Memphis Depay or Frenkie de Jong would likely put enough cash in the bank to officially add the French defender to their squad list.
Tuchel is certainly keen, with the manager this week talking up his close relationship with Aubameyang 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.
“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 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.”
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