Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is ‘depressed’ at Chelsea and wants to return to Barcelona this month ‘at any price’.
Aubameyang was signed at the end of the summer transfer window with Graham Potter’s predecessor Thomas Tuchel pushing for his transfer.
But Tuchel was sacked less than a week later and now, just six months after his arrival at Stamford Bridge, Aubameyang is ‘not happy’ having struggled for game time under Potter.
Sport Witness report that the striker’s entourage told Spanish newspaper AS that Aubameyang ‘is depressed’ and refused to deny that he is ‘seriously considering’ forcing an exit from Chelsea.
The report claims Aubameyang has been back in touch with Xavi to tell the Barcelona boss that he misses the club and city and would do anything to return.
It’s claimed Xavi has urged Aubameyang to be patient as he waits to see whether Memphis Depay will be snapped up by a suitor this month, at which point the Catalans could make a bid for the Gabon international’s return.
He would have to ‘significantly reduce his wages’ if he wants to return to the Spanish club, but they would be willing to see him back in the squad as it’s claimed his departure to Chelsea was ‘greeted with displeasure by staff’.
Atletico Madrid are said to have enquired over a move for Aubameyang, but he would have to wait until the summer to join Diego Simeone’s side as he would be unable to play for a third European club this season due to FIFA registration rules.
Aubameyang was brought on as a substitute against Manchester City last week, only to be taken off later in the same game, and Paul Merson believes Potter effectively ended the Gabon international’s career at Chelsea by breaking an “unwritten rule”.
“I think Aubameyang will now be moved on. I think they will cut their ties with him,” Merson said. “As soon as you are sub-subbing a 30-something player, I think that is probably the end.
“Maybe you can get away with it with a younger player, but in football it’s one of those unwritten rules. It’s a don’t-do. But Potter did it with him at 33 and, for me, I think he’s done. It’s an example of why recruitment is such a big problem for Chelsea.”