Atletico Madrid have reportedly made an enquiry for Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubemyang and are confident they can land the 33-year-old after agreeing Joao Felix’s loan switch to Stamford Bridge.
Felix will join Chelsea on a six-month loan deal for a fee thought to be around £9m, with the Blues set to pay his £270,000 a week wages in full until the end of the season.
The Portugal international’s arrival in west London will increase Graham Potter’s forward options and could lead to the departure of Aubameyang, according to Evening Standard.
The former Arsenal striker hasn’t started for Chelsea since the start of November with Kai Havertz Potter’s preferred option to lead the line.
Aubameyang moved from Barcelona for £12m at the end of the summer transfer window, but having already played for the Catalans this term he would be unable to play for a third European club this season due to FIFA registration rules, but a summer move is possible.
Manager Diego Simeone has asked for forward additions for Felix and Matheus Cunha, who’s moved to Wolves, and Atletico are also said to be weighing up a move for Barcelona star Memphis Depay.
Aubameyang scored 13 goals in 24 games for Barcelona during a six-month spell last season and has admirers beyond Diego Simeone in Spain.
Aubameyang was brought on as a substitute against Manchester City last week, only to be taken off later in the same game, and Paul Merson believes Potter effectively ended the Gabon international’s career at Chelsea by breaking an “unwritten rule”.
“I think Aubameyang will now be moved on. I think they will cut their ties with him,” Merson said. “As soon as you are sub-subbing a 30-something player, I think that is probably the end.
“Maybe you can get away with it with a younger player, but in football it’s one of those unwritten rules. It’s a don’t-do. But Potter did it with him at 33 and, for me, I think he’s done. It’s an example of why recruitment is such a big problem for Chelsea.
“They have brought a couple of players in already and it looks like they are going to have a go in the transfer window – they have to,” he added. “The top four looks very far away right now but there’s a long way to go.
“But if you do that January business and, all of a sudden, Potter goes a week or two later, then another manager will come in and say, ‘Well, I don’t like him, I didn’t want him.’ That’s what’s happened with Aubameyang.
“Potter did not want him, but if he is now sacked and someone else comes in, they will go, ‘well, I don’t want that centre-half or that centre-half.’ Then it’s like you are going around in circles again. That’s why Potter has got to be given more time in my opinion.”