Thomas Tuchel has admitted that he and Barcelona player Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang share a "close bond" as Chelsea reportedly line up a move for the ex-Arsenal striker. The pair worked together in Germany at Borussia Dortmund and it is believed Chelsea are eyeing up a move for not only Aubameyang but unsettled midfielder Frenkie de Jong as well. Manchester united have spent all summer trying to woo the Dutchman to Old Trafford but it seems the Blues may be in the strongest position to land him due to their place in the Champions League.
The Catalan club have been looking to offload De Jong, and have threatened him with wage cuts in order to help their financial position. Despite this Barcelona look set to announce Chelsea full-back Marcos Alonso as their sixth summer signing after activating their so called fourth economic lever.
What has Tuchel said?
Amid interest in the Gabon international, Tuchel explain how he and Aubameyang had a good relationship during their time in Germany. He said: "This is totally separate from anything that is happening now, but I enjoyed a lot working with Auba while I was at Dortmund.
"Some players stay your players because you were very, very close. And Auba is one of those players. There was always straight away this close bond. They always stay your players in a way.”
Not looking to cause any unnecessary friction, Tuchel did not comment on the situation that occurred last season between Arsenal and Aubameyang - which resulted in him being stripped of the club captaincy before moving on to Barca - saying: "I experienced no issues with him, but this has nothing to do with the situation in Arsenal, about which I will also not comment out of respect.
“In Dortmund there was never an issue.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's new haircut ✂️ pic.twitter.com/fBax7w8lSZ— GOAL (@goal) July 14, 2022
Where else are Chelsea looking to strengthen?
Tuchel refused to comment on names, but admitted Chelsea were perhaps a little light at the back. He said: "I will not comment. We could use one more central defender, if you look at the numbers, given the fact at the moment we play with a back three.
“And the profile of the guys in the back three is a little bit different I admit, we’re playing with Cesar Azpilicueta who is more of a full-back in the back three, and Marc Cucurella similar in the back-three.
“But they are not central defenders, so we could do with one more, but let’s see what happens."
Chelsea are being heavily linked with Leicester centre-back Wesley Fofana, but could be priced out of a move as the Foxes look for a huge fee to part with the 21-year-old.