Chelsea finally confirm Aubameyang and Zakaria deals after window closes
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is back in the Premier League with Chelsea after a spell at Arsenal.
Chelsea completed a whirlwind transfer window by signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona, reuniting the striker with former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel. Even though no announcement had been made by midnight BST, the London club was confident of strengthening in midfield with the loan signing of Denis Zakaria from Juventus.
The Aubameyang deal, which is expected to send left-back Marcos Alonso in the opposite direction to Barcelona, was worth €14 million (£12 million), bringing Chelsea’s outlay on incoming fees under new co-owner Todd Boehly to more than £250 million.
“It’s an honour to be a part of this team, and I can’t wait to get started,” said Aubameyang. “I have some unfinished business with the Premier League, so it’s great to be back, and it’s really exciting.”
Boehly, acting as sporting director, has cast a wide net in an attempt to make his mark after taking over from Roman Abramovich and reshape the squad for Tuchel, especially after the departures on free transfers of Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen. The midfielders moved to Real Madrid and Barcelona after Chelsea were unable to offer them new contracts while Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government.
Chelsea spent a lot of money on central defensive reinforcements, acquiring Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £33.8 million and Wesley Fofana from Leicester for £75 million. A late bid of £77.5 million for RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol was rejected, with the Croatia international extending his contract until 2027 on Thursday. “Retweet and tell everyone: Josko Gvardiol is staying,” Leipzig said. Chelsea could go after him again.
Aubameyang is back in London, where he spent four years with Arsenal before imploding spectacularly in the first half of last season, and he is back with Tuchel. The manager had him for two seasons at Dortmund until the summer of 2017 and had an excellent relationship with him, describing him as “a bit crazy but nice crazy.”
Under Tuchel, Aubameyang scored 79 goals in 95 games across all competitions.
Tuchel sanctioned Romelu Lukaku’s loan return to Internazionale in June, and he has sought more adaptable and mobile options up front, signing Raheem Sterling from Manchester City for £50 million. Aubameyang adds to the mix by being able to play centrally or off the left flank. Tuchel also has Mason Mount and Kai Havertz at his disposal.
Aubameyang joined Barcelona at the end of last season’s winter window after being forced out of Arsenal by manager Mikel Arteta, where he scored 13 goals in 23 appearances before the season ended. The 33-year-old has made only one brief appearance off the substitutes’ bench this season, as manager Xavi Hernández has lent on his summer signings Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.
Last weekend, Aubameyang and his family were the victims of an armed burglary at their home in Barcelona. Thugs attacked Aubameyang, injuring his jaw and potentially delaying his Chelsea debut.
Tuchel was looking for a new midfielder and, amid a flurry of bids for a number of players, he moved for Zakaria – the 25-year-old Swiss international who joined Juventus from Borussia Mönchengladbach in January.
Chelsea attempted to sign Ajax’s Edson lvarez, PSV Eindhoven’s Ibrahim Sangaré, and Dynamo Moscow’s Arsen Zakharyan, who has a £12.6m release clause. The Russian club issued a statement detailing the receipt of an offer from Chelsea as well as the subsequent negotiations.
“However, due to a number of technical reasons beyond our control, the player cannot be transferred this summer,” Dynamo added. “However, our club remains open to proposals that will benefit both Dynamo and the player.” The parties have agreed that Arsen will continue to play for Dynamo.”
Alonso, who played 212 games for Chelsea over six seasons, is no longer needed following the £55 million signing of Marc Cucurella from Brighton. Chelsea loaned Ethan Ampadu to Spezia, Real Valladolid, and sold Billy Gilmour to Brighton.
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