Chelsea are willing to match Man Utd’s agreed £72m bid for Barcelona midfielder De Jong; Aubameyang only left Chelsea’s London rivals Arsenal in January; Chelsea are confident about signing Leicester’s Wesley Fofana and have been quoted £12m for Inter Milan’s Cesar Casadei.
Chelsea is ready to sign Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang if Barcelona allow both players to leave this month
Manchester United agreed to a £72m fee to sign De Jong last month but he is owed £17m in deferred wages and will not agree to leave until he is paid. Barcelona want him to stay but only if he agrees to take a significant pay cut and accept a £6m settlement for his deferred wages. Aubameyang moved to Barcelona on a free transfer from Arsenal in January.
He has three years left on his contract. Although Thomas Tuchel has been reluctant to talk about Aubameyang in public he is keen to work again with a player who scored 79 goals for him in two seasons at Borussia DortmundTuchel’s priority is to sign a centre-back and a forward this month and Chelsea are increasingly confident that they can agree a deal to sign Leicester defender Wesley Fofana and are preparing a third offer. Leicester do not want to sell Fofana but they would find it difficult to turn down an offer close to £80m.
Chelsea has a twin-track approach of buying players for now and the future this summer. Last week they signed 18-year-old midfielder Carney Chukwu Emeka from Aston Villa in a £20m deal. They have also signed 18-year-old goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina from Chicago Fire and 18-year-old winger Omari Hutchinson from Arsenal.
Do you think a character like Aubameyang is unruly?
“A lot of people who know Aubameyang would say they have nothing bleak to say about how he manages himself, just that he can be a little bit slow, not that he’s disorderly on purpose or tries to bend the rules.
“It’s just part of his character, he’s a bit confident. And he was actually quite popular in the dressing room.
“I understand Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was trying to create a culture of excellence and he couldn’t have somebody – especially the captain and a senior player at the club – consistently flouting the rules. “Jürgen Klopp has also called him a lovely player, warm-hearted and a great guy.
“Thomas Tuchel has said in the past he’s got nothing but happy memories of the player and that he enjoyed their time together.