Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang appeared to wave goodbye to Barcelona fans on Wednesday night as his transfer to Chelsea edges closer.
Aubameyang – who only moved to Barcelona in January having been jettisoned from Arsenal by Mikel Arteta – has emerged as Chelsea’s top striker this summer with manager Thomas Tuchel keen to reunite with the Gabon international, who scored a whopping 79 goals in 95 games under the German boss in their time together at Borussia Dortmund.
Chelsea’s first offer of €15m (£12.6m) was turned down last week by Barcelona, who were said to be holding out for €30m (£25.3m) for the 33-year-old, who they signed for free six months ago.
But a report on Monday claimed both clubs were happy with an improved offer from Chelsea of €20m (£16.9m) with add-ons removed from the deal.
Crucially, an offer of that amount would allow Barcelona register £46m summer signing Jules Kounde.
Speaking last week, Barcelona head coach Xavi insisted that the club’s main aim was to get Kounde registered as quickly as possible.
“If there is an offer for any of them, we’ll see how the squad turns out to be. Now the priority is to register Kounde,” said Xavi.
“Kounde is training really well. He’s great with the ball. I think we signed a very good player. Now we need to sell some players to register him.”
The Barcelona boss was initially reticent to allow Aubameyang to leave but he now appears to have come to terms with his departure.
Aubameyang scored what looks likely to be his final goal for the Spanish giants in their 3-3 draw with Manchester City on Wednesday night.
The striker waved to the fans as he left the Nou Camp, with a move to Stamford Bridge now expected to be completed before Barcelona’s next fixture on Sunday.
The midweek friendly between the European giants was organised to raise money for ALS (amyotropic lateral sclerosis) reasearch, in support of former Barcelona goalkeeper and coach Juan Carlos Unzue, who was diagnosed with the incurable degenerative condition two years ago.
Riyad Mahrez’s injury-time equaliser followed goals from Julian Alvarez, Aubameyang, Frenkie de Jong, Cole Palmer and Memphis Depay.
“I would like to thank Barcelona and Manchester City for their commitment and sensitivity to our cause,” Unzue said. “I also want to thank everyone who bought a ticket, and everyone who donated via the row zero initiative. I would like you to know that everyone from the ALS team – here on the pitch with me – want to keep living and enjoying life.”