By Nick Purewal, PA
Barcelona will be open to discussions over a fee for Chelsea target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the PA news agency understands.
Chelsea are understood to be continuing their interest in Aubameyang, with Thomas Tuchel still retaining a strong relationship with the 33-year-old from the pair’s Borussia Dortmund days.
The Blues have already brought in the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly this summer but are ready to continue their spending spree, with the club also still understood to be pushing hard to prise defender Wesley Fofana away from Leicester.
Tuchel still wants a striker to replace Romelu Lukaku, who returned to Inter Milan on loan at the start of the summer.
And former Arsenal captain Aubameyang has now emerged as a genuine target.
Barcelona’s continued financial problems leaves the Catalan giants still battling to balance the books, and offloading players remains a central part of that exercise.
Robert Lewandowski’s arrival from Bayern Munich has left Barca comfortable with Aubameyang leaving for the right terms.
Nou Camp bosses are thought to want to push for upwards of £20million to let Aubameyang leave, but the Blues are also understood to have been encouraged towards making a reasonable offer.
Chelsea could chase a loan deal by shouldering Aubameyang’s full wage packet, but Barca would likely be more in favour of a permanent transfer.
The Blues, who host Antonio Conte’s Tottenham at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, started the new campaign with a 1-0 win at Everton but still want to add more firepower to their ranks.
Tuchel has been heavily involved in the Blues’ recruitment this summer, with new chairman and co-owner Todd Boehly acting as interim sporting director.
Technical director Petr Cech opted to leave the club at the end of the Roman Abramovich era, and Tuchel has admitted the former goalkeeper’s departure has left a gap off the field.
“We miss Petr a lot; I saw him in the last days and he knows from me directly that we miss him a lot.
“I know a lot of people miss him a lot. He was on a daily basis here in the training centre and he was the person who lived the values and attitude of what it takes to be a top competitor for Chelsea day by day.
“He was a huge help for me, an enormous support I never experienced before in his kind of honesty. Maybe this is his key quality. In all his effort he is humble and super honest.
“It was a fantastic relationship but we have to respect his decision. Maybe now we need to sort things out, everything is new, the line of communication is new, everybody needs to step up in the staff, not only me, in responsibility.”