Transfer News & Odds

“I have some question marks” – Frank Leboeuf doubts Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang success at Chelsea

By Harry Edwards

Published: 10:14, 19 August 2022

Former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf has admitted he has some doubts over whether Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be a success at the Blues.

Aubameyang only left the Premier League for Barcelona in January but the former Arsenal man is already being linked with a return, this time to the Gunners’ rivals Chelsea. The 33-year-old has lost his spot in the starting XI at Barcelona after the summer arrival of Robert Lewandowski and the Blaugrana appear open to allowing Aubameyang to leave as they try to cut down their wage bill.

Chelsea have been searching for a striker all summer after allowing Romelu Lukaku to leave on loan, and later selling Timo Werner, already being linked with a move for the likes of Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo.

But for now they appear to have set their sights on Aubameyang as a short fix to allow them more time to find a longer-term replacement, finally ending a run of bad luck when it comes to strikers. On top of Aubameyang’s Premier League record, scoring 68 goals in 128 games for Arsenal, the Gabonese striker does have a history with Tuchel, working together while at Borussia Dortmund.

In 95 matches across all competitions under Tuchel’s tutelage, Aubameyang scored 79 goals at an average of 0.83 per game, his second-best ratio for a manager after 0.95 while playing with Peter Bosz. He also has a decent record at Barcelona, showing that poor form in his final months at Arsenal weren’t indicative of his on-pitch quality, scoring 13 goals in 24 games across all competitions for the Blaugrana.

So far this season, Raheem Sterling has operated as the false nine in Chelsea’s fluid front three alongside Kai Havertz and Mason Mount, but that trio is yet to find the net, with Jorginho, Kalidou Koulibaly and Reece James scoring the Blues’ three goals.

Summer arrival Sterling has been performing well in the trio without truly threatening the opposition goal, though he did assist James for the full-backs goal against Tottenham.

However, Lebouef believes that fluid front three could be Aubameyang’s downfall should he join Chelsea, in the same way Tuchel’s playing style hampered Lukaku’s impact at Stamford Bridge.

“I have some question marks, he’s over 30 and the last two years haven’t been very good for him in terms of goals and consistency,” Leboeuf told ESPN FC.

“I have a lot of respect for his father who was a former teammate I followed Pierre-Emerick’s career in Dortmund and then Arsenal. He’s a fantastic player but I want to see before judging.

“It depends on Tuchel’s decision and how he wants to play. If it’s like against Spurs with the rotation up front we don’t know who plays in the middle or on the side, I don’t think it’s going to work and it won’t be useful to have Aubameyang.

“If you play like you should have played with Lukaku, meaning with a real striker and serving him it can be interesting.

“But we saw last season it didn’t happen with Lukaku so why suddenly will Tuchel change the way he wants to play I don’t know. I don’t see that coming.

“I don’t know if Aubameyang will be stronger than the curse that hits all strikers that have played for Chelsea lately. I hope he will be successful but I want to see before judging.”