Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future at Chelsea is reportedly under increasing scrutiny after Graham Potter left him out of the Blues’ Champions League squad.
Now, it seems a move to MLS outfit Los Angeles FC is on the cards, with the American club looking for a replacement for the recently retired Gareth Bale.
The former Arsenal man only joined Chelsea in September, but after Todd Boehly spent a staggering amount on new players in the January window – Aubameyang has found himself pushed down the pecking order.
Now, according to reports coming out of Spain, MLS champions LAFC could now make a move to sign the 33-year-old.
As mentioned, LAFC is looking for another big name to add to their squad after Bale retired in January and switched to playing golf instead.
The Welshman only played a year in the US, but led his side to MLS Cup glory, scoring a dramatic 128th-minute equalizer before his team won on penalties.
In addition, with the transfer window now closed in Europe, Aubameyang has a conundrum on his hands – head to the MLS, or probably sit on the bench at Chelsea for the remainder of the campaign.
The Mali international has already played for two different teams this season, making one appearance for Barcelona in August, before joining Chelsea shortly after.
FIFA say that players can only play for two teams in one season, but the MLS provides a convenient loophole for Aubameyang, as its 2023 campaign is considered ‘an overlapping season,’ due to begin this month.
FIFA state: “Players may be registered with a maximum of three clubs during one season. During this period, the player is only eligible to play official matches for two clubs.”
“As an exception to this rule, a player moving between two clubs belonging to associations with overlapping seasons (i.e. start of the season in summer/autumn as opposed to winter/spring) may be eligible to play in official matches for a third club during the relevant season.”
With that in mind, joining LAFC is really Aubameyang’s only viable option at the moment, if he does opt to leave Stamford Bridge.
The striker has played a total of 17 times for Chelsea this season, scoring just three goals, which is a disappointing return. He last played back in October, against AC Milan in the Champions League.
Graham Potter has previously admitted that he had to make a tough decision over who to leave out from his 25-man Champions League squad, especially given the number of high-profile signings the club made in January.
Boehly and co brought in six new faces, spending approximately £323m, signing the likes of Enzo Fernandez (£107m), Mykhaylo Mudryk (£88.5m) and new striker David Datro Fofana (£10.6m) along with five other big names.
LAFC begin their 2023 season on February 25th, in ‘El Traffico’ against rivals LA Galaxy, so Aubamyang will need to make a decision on his future before then.
Chelsea are set to play West Ham on Saturday, so it will be interesting to see if Aubameyang makes Potter’s squad. If he doesn’t, that may indicate his departure will happen sooner rather than later.