Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang landed a surprise mention from departing Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets when he was addressing the crowd at Camp Nou at the club’s first home game since sealing this season’s La Liga title.
Busquets, who will get an emotional send-off when Barça wrap the season at Camp Nou against Mallorca next Sunday, spoke to the fans before the trophy was handed over.
Lifting the ninth La Liga trophy of his career and first as captain, the 34-year-old was keen to include mentions for every player who has been part of the squad this season. That meant nods to Aubameyang, Hector Bellerin, Memphis Depay and Gerard Pique, all of whom made at least one La Liga appearance – and therefore contributed – but left during the season.
“I want to thank Hector, Auba, Memphis and Pique. They helped us win this title too,” he said.
Having scored 11 times in 17 La Liga games in the second half of last season, Aubameyang played eight minutes of the 0-0 draw against Rayo Vallecano back in August. He was permitted to join Chelsea on a free transfer right at the end of the summer window.
Pique announced his retirement quite suddenly in November and hung up his boots with immediate effect, while Memphis and Bellerin joined Atletico Madrid and Sporting CP respectively in January.
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Aubameyang scored 68 goals in 128 Premier League games for Arsenal between 2018 and 2022, but the now veteran Gabon international has struggled to make an impact in a difficult and constantly changing environment at Chelsea. He has had significant spells out of the squad, has only started five league games and has managed just a single goal in domestic competitions.
Although he has a contract at Stamford Bridge until 2024, Aubameyang is expected to leave Chelsea at the end of the season – he has already revealed a return to Barcelona would be his preference.
90min understands that Aubameyang has already been told he can leave Chelsea, with the club prepared to waive a transfer fee to allow him to more easily depart. Barcelona are considering him as an option but have place higher priority on Athletico Paranaense teenager Vitor Roque.
There is also the significant matter of ensuring there are sufficient funds to re-sign Lionel Messi, although 90min has learned the Catalans are ‘hugely confident’ of announcing that soon.
On this week’s edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders is joined by Toby Cudworth and Graeme Bailey to discuss all the latest transfer news. On the agenda: Declan Rice, Mason Mount, Granit Xhaka, Martin Odegaard, Ivan Toney, Ruben Loftus-Cheek & more!
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