MATT BARLOW: Chelsea should BACK Tuchel to get a tune out of his old buddy Aubameyang after he scored 79 in 95 under him at Dortmund… Arteta got rid but the Blues’ dressing room is more mature and less impressionable than Arsenal’s
- Thomas Tuchel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had relationship at Dortmund
- Chelsea dressing room is less impressionable and more mature than Arsenal’s
- The German manager has the ability to get a tune out of the Gabon forward
The Gabonese striker is shown as a disruptive influence in the Amazon documentary, more interested in accessorising his designer leisurewear with the gold wrap on his Lamborghini than setting the example Mikel Arteta expects of his captain.
The Gunners manager compiled a dossier of his misdemeanours, revolving around his infamous problems with punctuality, and used it to win his argument with those in the club’s executive who wanted to give the striker one more chance.
Thomas Tuchel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang enjoyed success together with Dortmund
In January, Aubameyang was paid handsomely to leave the club, enabling the manager to instil the dressing-room culture he envisaged.
Eight months on and with Barcelona back in deep financial strife, Chelsea are serious about signing him. Utter madness were it not for one factor – the success forged by boss Thomas Tuchel and Aubameyang when they worked together at Borussia Dortmund.
In two years under Tuchel, Aubameyang scored 79 goals in 95 appearances, finishing the second of those seasons as top scorer in the Bundesliga and winning the German Cup.
The pair won a German Cup together and Tuchel can get the best out of the forward again
‘I would be interested in the 79 goals,’ quipped Tuchel when last quizzed on the matter and if he is confident Aubameyang’s personality will not stifle Chelsea’s young players, then his instinct should be trusted.
Tuchel could have stopped this at source. He could have said: ‘I know this guy. He’s a nightmare. Let’s not.’ He didn’t.
Instead, he said he’d be interested in 79 goals. And who wouldn’t?
Chelsea need a reliable goal source and Aubameyang, whatever faults he has, is certainly that. He has always scored goals. He scored 68 in the Premier League at better than one every two games during four years in north London.
His speed on the turnover of the ball was a weapon deployed effectively by Arteta when he became Arsenal manager and was on display when they beat Chelsea to win the FA Cup in 2020. Aubameyang scored twice in that final.
At 33, the pace may have faded but Tuchel will be aware of his performances for Barcelona last season and visualised his role in his team, perhaps as a destructive force in tandem with the ball-winning ability of N’Golo Kante in midfield.
He will have considered the potential impact of his ego, too. Chelsea’s dressing room is very different from Arsenal’s. It is stronger and more mature, with senior players who have won it all.
Chelsea’s squad is more mature and better equipped for a character like Aubameyang (left)
It is less impressionable and able to police itself, dealing with anyone who might need knocking into line because they turn up late for meetings and erode standards. As they did with Romelu Lukaku after his infamous rogue interview.
When it comes to attitude and respect, Arteta hails directly from Pep Guardiola’s school of micro-control, so frowned upon by Zlatan Ibrahimovic in his new book, Adrenaline.
‘At Manchester City, Guardiola could have signed Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane,’ said Ibrahimovic, who did not get along with the Spaniard at Barcelona. ‘But he didn’t want any of them. They were outsized stars, too big for him, with too much personality. ‘The Philosopher’ prefers players who obey without talking back.’
But Tuchel, an admirer of Guardiola, is now far enough down the path of his coaching career to be able to do the same and is aware that his target is to catch City.
If he wants Aubameyang and thinks he will improve his team, and if Chelsea can afford him, they should trust his judgment.