Chelsea are reportedly in advanced talks to sign Barcelona forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on a permanent deal.
Following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner to Inter Milan and RB Leipzig respectively, the Blues are in the market to recruit a new centre-forward before the transfer window shuts.
Aubameyang has emerged as one of Thomas Tuchel’s primary targets, with the German boss having previously worked with the 33-year-old during his time in charge at Borussia Dortmund.
According to Sky Sports News, negotiations between Chelsea and Barca over a deal for Aubameyang have reached an advanced stage and they are close to reaching an agreement.
The report adds that a fee between £15m and £25m is being discussed between the two clubs, with Chelsea wanting to include Marcos Alonso in a player-plus-cash deal, while Barca would prefer a straight cash sum.
Aubameyang – who scored 79 goals in two seasons under Tuchel at Dortmund – only joined the Catalan giants in January on a free transfer from Arsenal, but he appears to have fallen down the pecking order under head coach Xavi following the big-money arrival of Robert Lewandowski.
The 70-cap Gabon international has played for only eight minutes across Barcelona’s opening three La Liga games of the new season, and he was an unused substitute in Sunday’s 4-1 win away against Real Sociedad.
It is thought that the former Gunners striker would be open to a return to the Premier League and reuniting with Tuchel at Stamford Bridge, where he is more likely to receive regular first-team football.
Tuchel revealed earlier this month that he has a close relationship with Aubameyang and that he still regards him as ‘one of his players’.
“I enjoyed a lot working with him, it was a pleasure. This has nothing to do with the situation now, but some players stay your players because you were very, very close and Auba is one of those players,” Tuchel told reporters.
“We had a very close relationship. Always when he played here with Arsenal, it was straight away this close bond. They always stay your players in a way and Auba is one of those players.”
Aubameyang may not be the only fresh face to arrive at Chelsea in the final 10 days of the transfer window, as the Blues reportedly still hold an interest in Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana and Everton’s Anthony Gordon.
Tuchel has already made six signings so far this summer, with Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Cucurella, Carney Chukwuemeka, Cesare Casadei and Gabriel Slonina all joining for a combined fee in excess of £150m.
However, the 48-year-old is keen to bolster his squad further, telling reporters: “I think we can strengthen our squad in depth but, you know, it is one thing that you wish for and another what is possible.
“It needs to be possible. We are looking for top quality, top personalities, good characters and real competitors on the highest level. You don’t always get what you wish for. We are calm, but ambitious at the same time.
“There are still quite some days to go until the end of the transfer period and everything is possible until the end.”
It is thought that Fofana is valued by Leicester at around £80m, while Everton would only entertain offers in excess of £50m for Gordon.