Chelsea table bid for Auba

The Herald

LONDON. — Chelsea have ceded to Barcelona’s transfer demands over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and tabled an offer worth £22 million for the forward, according to reports.

The Gabon international has emerged as a surprise target for the west Londoners, with Thomas Tuchel keen to be reunited with a player he knows well from their time together at Borussia Dortmund.

Chelsea have loaned club-record signing Romelu Lukaku back to Inter and sold Timo Werner back to RB Leipzig, leaving them short on options in attack.

Aubameyang only moved to Camp Nou earlier this year, joining on a free transfer after Arsenal agreed to rip up his contract, though he now looks increasingly likely to return to the English Premier League.

According to reliable Spanish journalist Gerard Romero on his Jijantes FC Twitch channel, Chelsea have submitted their first official bid and it meets Barca’s asking price.

Incredibly, despite paying nothing for Aubameyang barely six months ago, the Catalan club were demanding as much as £23 million for the 33-year-old.

After initially hoping to pay around half that, Chelsea have offered £22 million and the striker must now make a decision over whether he wants to remain in Barcelona or return to London. In early negotiations, Chelsea had verbally proposed a figure of around £12m but have dramatically upped their offer amid speculation that Manchester United had also started to sniff around Aubameyang.

The Blues are prepared to increase Aubameyang’s salary significantly, with the forward having accepted a pay cut to join Barca earlier this year.

Although Xavi would have liked to count on the Gabonese forward this season — particularly after he netted 11 times in just 17 Spanish La Liga appearances last season — Barcelona’s hierarchy are keen to offload him.

The club have already brought in Robert Lewandowski this summer, pushing Aubameyang down the pecking order, while his sale would ease some of Barca’s financial issues.

Tuchel has done little to play down his interest in being reunited with the striker, saying last week: ‘Some players stay your players because you work very, very close, Auba is one of these players. We had a very close relationship.

“Always when we played him here with Arsenal, there was always straight away this close bond. They always stay your players in a way, Auba is one of these guys.’’

Meanwhile, Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing Borussia Dortmund right-back Thomas Meunier to replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who they plan to sell back to Crystal Palace.

Wan-Bissaka has been an unused substitute in United’s opening two games of the season, with Diogo Dalot preferred in defence, and has been linked with a transfer for most of the summer.

And despite the team losing both games, conceding six goals in the process, Ten Hag still has no plans to bring the 24-year-old back into the fold, with the club hoping to offload him and sign a new right back before the window closes in around two weeks’ time. — Metro.

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