Chelsea are close to agreeing a deal with Barcelona over the signing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a move which would see Marcos Alonso move to the La Liga side.
The deal would see Alonso plus around £6.5m go the other way.
Personal terms are expected to be finalized, and Aubameyang is expected to have a medical in London.
No agreement has been reached yet, but all parties are positive, hopeful and willing of getting a deal done ahead of the transfer window closing at 11pm on Thursday.
Aubameyang suffered a minor fracture of his jaw in an attack on his home over the weekend.
The Gabon forward, who is expected to be out of action for three weeks, can resume non-contact training next week.
Chelsea are aware and sympathetic of his situation and it is thought that the injury will not affect a potential transfer as talks advance.
The club still wants to sign a forward and midfielder before the transfer window closes.
Thomas Tuchel has already spent £268m this summer on players, including Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly.
Chelsea have made a late £43m bid for Ajax midfielder Edson Alvarez – but could face a tough task of signing him.
Barcelona are also close to a deal for Hector Bellerin after the right-back mutually terminated his contract with Arsenal.
Chelsea need instant impact
Sky Sports Adam Smith:
“Some players stay your players because you were very, very close – and Auba is one of those players,” Tuchel told journalists last month, effectively validating reports Chelsea were eyeing a move for his former striker.
While the Gabon international created headlines for the right and wrong reasons during his time at Arsenal, Aubameyang simply produced goals at Borussia Dortmund under Tuchel – with 56 goals in 63 appearances across two campaigns.
That partnership ended when Dortmund sacked Tuchel at the end of the 2016/17 season and Aubameyang joined Arsenal in the winter window of 2018 for a then-club-record £60m – hitting the ground running with 10 league goals in just 12 starts.
However, his goal ratio dipped incrementally over four campaigns and culminated with him being stripped as club captain for disciplinary reasons before leaving the club by mutual consent six weeks later and joining Barcelona on a free transfer.
In true Jekyll and Hyde form, the flamboyant striker once again burst from the blocks in La Liga, averaging nearly one goal per game last term – helping the club climb from fifth in the league to finish runners-up behind rivals Real Madrid.
However, Barca have been busy in the transfer market this summer amid an ongoing controversy surrounding their rush to raise capital and register incomings, which includes former Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.
Barcelona opened the door for Aubameynang to leave the club after only seven months at the Nou Camp – making around £6.5m and acquiring Marcos Alonso in the process – and Aubameyang’s old mentor has come calling. But why?
Some players stay your players because you were very, very close – and Auba is one of those players
The 33-year-old would slot seamlessly into Tuchel’s plans, having worked together so fruitfully during the two-year period which ended five years ago.
Additionally, Aubameyang has a track record of making instant impacts and would fill the No 9 void left by Romelu Lukaku, who failed to ignite upon his £97.5m return to the club last season and was loaned back to former club Inter Milan this term.
Chelsea have been struggling with an age-old issue during the German’s tenure – struggling to convert chances. Although only five games in, the Blues have the seventh-worst expected-goal differential in the division.
Indeed, midfielder Mason Mount tops the club’s chart for league goals during Tuchel’s reign, followed by the versatile Kai Havertz – who has recently adopted a false No 9 role – holding midfielder and penalty-taker Jorginho and bit-part winger Christian Pulisic.
As the graphics below reveal, Aubameyang also offers versatility and positional fluidity – having worked the left flank and central positions in equal measure during his time at the Emirates.
On song, the striker is clinical and the goal map below highlights what he could offer Chelsea: goals, in and around central areas inside the box, and he is likely to primarily take up a central position – allowing summer-signing Raheem Sterling to be deployed down his favored wide channel.
With the Blues sitting ninth in the Premier League table after five games and only two wins under their belt, Tuchel will be hoping his former favorite can make another explosive impact.
How to follow Deadline Day on Sky Sports
Time is running out for clubs to do business in the transfer window. Here’s all you need to know about Deadline Day and how to follow the drama with Sky Sports.
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You’ll be able to keep track of all the developments on Sky Sports News, as well as getting the best analysis and reaction from our studio guests and reporters at grounds across the country and in Europe.
Our Deadline Day programming starts at 7am and continues throughout the day on Sky Sports News, where you will be able to hear from Paul Merson, Clinton Morrison, Shay Given, Wes Morgan, Paul Robinson, Lianne Sanderson, Nigel de Jong and many more.
And to avoid missing out on any of the news wherever you are, look out for live streaming of Sky Sports News on the Sky Sports News YouTube page and on the Sky Sports app at 12pm and 8pm on Thursday.