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Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez has conceded that ‘different things can happen’ before the summer transfer deadline, in a sign that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could join Chelsea this month. The Spaniard was coy when asked about Aubameyang’s future amid links with the Premier League club, although he did insist that he is ‘counting’ on the striker.
Chelsea have been linked with a £10.5million move for the former Arsenal ace. That is despite the fact that Aubameyang only joined Barca in January following his well-publicised falling out with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.
Barca must continue trimming their wage bill to fall within La Liga guidelines. They have been able to register four of their new players, but defender and former Chelsea target Jules Kounde missed out on being formally recognised as a Barca player by the Spanish football authorities.
Aubameyang and team-mate Frenkie de Jong have both been the subject of strong transfer speculation. Chelsea are interested in both players and Relevo claim they could bid £10.5m for Aubameyang.
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Xavi insists he is ‘counting’ on the pair but refused to rule out a move. The former midfielder told journalists: “I am counting on him (Aubameyang). Those I am not counting on already know, they know won’t play. Everyone else is training. Between now and August 31, different things can happen. But I like Auba, he can help us. He’s humble and I’m delighted with him.”
Asked about fellow Chelsea and Manchester United target Frenkie de Jong, the 42-year-old added: “Same as Auba, important for me. He’s in the squad and we will use him. I don’t know what will happen between now and Aug 31, but not just with Frenkie or with Auba, with almost everyone in the squad.”
Aubameyang worked with Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel during his time at Borussia Dortmund. The German discussed his relationship with the 33-year-old on Friday.
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He told journalists: “I enjoyed a lot working with him [at Borussia Dortmund]. It was a pleasure. This has nothing to do with the situation now, but players stay your players because you work very, very close. Auba is one of these players.
“We had a very close relationship. Always when we played him here with Arsenal, there was always straight away this close bond. They always stay your players in a way, Auba is one of these guys.”
Aubameyang fell out with Arteta at Arsenal over a pattern of alleged misdemeanours. Tuchel added: “No concerns because I experienced none of this. This is nothing to do with the situation in Arsenal, which I will also not comment on out of respect. It’s not on me to comment, and I don’t know what happened. In Dortmund, there was never an issue.”
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