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Explained: Why Chelsea flop Aubameyang cannot legally re-join Barcelona in January transfer window

19:06 GMT+3 12/01/2023
Aubameyang of Chelsea.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been linked with a Chelsea exit, but he can't return to Barcelona this month due to Spanish football regulations.
  • RFEF regulations prevent registration
  • Could sign for another La Liga club
  • Winter move seems likely

WHAT HAPPENED? Rumours of an Aubameyang return to La Liga have surfaced in recent weeks, with some sources suggesting the striker wants to re-sign for Barcelona. However, strict La Liga registration rules prevent the Gabon international from penning a new deal with the Blaugrana.

WHY CAN'T AUBAMEYANG PLAY FOR BARCELONA? RFEF rules state that players can't re-register with the same club during a season. Since Auba registered with Barcelona in August — before joining Chelsea — he legally cannot join Barca.

However, he could theoretically join another club. According to the RFEF, players can register with up to three different clubs over the course of the campaign, leaving a potential move to Atletico Madrid open, for example.

IN TWO PHOTOS:

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Aubameyang has endured a difficult start to life in London, with only one Premier League goal so far.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR AUBAMEYANG: Out of favour with manager Graham Potter, a move elsewhere for the Gabonese striker seems likely - but maybe not until the summer.