Premier League

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in transfer bind after Fulham snub

Stuart Telford
Chelsea's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Chelsea future could hardly look bleaker after he watched the Blues’ West London derby defeat to Fulham from the bench – but he has nowhere to go.

Aubameyang joined Chelsea in a €12 million transfer from Barcelona on the final day of the summer window, and spoke of his excitement at playing under his former Borussia Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel.

Unfortunately for the Gabon captain, their reunion lasted less than an hour of football before the German tactician was sacked by new owner Todd Boehly and replaced as manager by Graham Potter.

READ: Graham Potter needs time MORE than money at Chelsea

Chelsea’s Blues

Things haven’t gone well for either Aubameyang or Potter since, and the latter is under increasing pressure after losing 2-1 the Fulham on Thursday – a result which left the Blues 10th in the table, 10 points off the Champions League places.

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But while Potter still had the backing of the club – publicly at least – the same cannot be said for Aubameyang.

With Chelsea chasing the game at 2-1, Potter brought on four subs around the 80 minute mark: Conor Gallagher, Marc Cucurella, Carney Chukwuemeka and Hakim Ziyech.

In need of a goal, a player who scored 13 of them in half a season with Barcelona was completely ignored.

READ: Stuck at Chelsea: Aubameyang BLOCKED from Barcelona return

Tactical reasoning

“We had a back five and felt we should go to a 4-4-1 and keep Kai [Havertz] on because I felt he was leading the line and winning challenges and duels,” Potter said when pressed on Aubameyang after the game.

“We wanted to use Hakim and Carney to break from wide and Conor to break from the centre because you know you’re going to get driven back a bit. So that was the thinking.”

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But between those lines is the fact that Aubameyang will never be given the chance to break them on a regular basis under Potter. Barca are interested in bringing him back to Camp Nou, but they can’t.

Stuck at Stamford Bridge

“The Spanish FA have clarified their rules prevent players from being de-registered and registered again in the same season,” Mirror Football journalist Colin Millar posted on Twitter.

FIFA rules state that: “Players may be registered with a maximum of three clubs during one season. [But] during this period, the player is only eligible to play official matches for two clubs.”

So Aubameyang could technically leave this winter – just not for Barca – but he could only play in friendlies until the end of the campaign.

Aubameyang could try to follow Cristiano Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia and take part in glamour games – as Al Nassr are reportedly ready to do against Lionel Messi’s PSG – but his only other choice seems to be to rot on Chelsea’s bench.

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