Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s life as a Chelsea outcast: Two days off in Milan and FINALLY getting a game (at five-a-side with his pals)… before a quick flight back to join his team-mates at training
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been spotted playing five-a-side while wearing his full Chelsea kit in Milan, after being given permission for two days off, as the ex-Gabon international continues to struggle for game time at the Blues.
The striker – who has been left out of Graham Potter‘s Champions League squad – was snapped in his Blues kit in a small-sided game alongside friends and family in pictures that appeared on Monday.
He was also pictured alongside in Chelsea training kit on his brother’s Instagram as his miserable stay at Stamford Bridge is set to continue despite attempts by the club to move him on in January.
Aubameyang’s absence from the club was permitted, and is expected to return to the club in time to resume training.
Since his arrival in west London, Aubameyang has managed only three goals and an assist in 17 outings in what has been a hugely disappointing return to the Premier League.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has struggled for time under Graham Potter after a summer arrival
Aubameyang was spotted enjoying a kick about with his friends in Milan in full Chelsea kit
And after a raft of new signings in January and a poor return on the pitch, the striker has been left out of the club’s last three Premier League ties with competition for places at Stamford Bridge having increased drastically.
He has not taken to the field in Chelsea colours since a nine-minute cameo back on January 21, in a 0-0 bore draw with fellow strugglers Liverpool.
As a result, he averages just 39 minutes per game in the top-flight, and 49 in all competitions, despite the Blues’ high-profile goal scoring problems this campaign without a recognised striker.
Aubameyang was formerly one of Europe’s premier forwards after successful spells at Arsenal and Dortmund – for whom he scored a combined 233 goals in 376 games – but has been unable to recapture that form over the last 12 months.
The 33-year-old is the only recognised No 9 at the club, but Potter prefers to play with a false nine, either deploying Kai Havertz or loan signing Joao Felix to lead the line.
Left out of Potter’s final squad for the Champions League, Aubameyang was left watching on at home as his side laboured to a 1-0 draw against his former club Dortmund, despite managing eight shots on target.
It is not the first time this season that the west London outfit have struggled to put the ball in the back of the net, having managed only 23 goals in the Premier League putting them 13th in the top-flight for goals scored.
At one point in the winter transfer window he looked close to a second move in the same season, with rumours linking him with a switch to the MLS.
Potter notably left the ex-Barcelona star out of his squad for the Champions League knockouts
While in Italy he was seen wearing full Chelsea training gear and posing for pics on Instagram
Kai Havertz has often been preferred to the No 9 despite not being a natural in the position
The Blues were in talks with LAFC to send the player out on loan and have the American side cover his hefty wages, but a deal failed to materialise with the forward perhaps reluctant to move again so soon after returning to London.
The player arrived back in the English capital from Barcelona in September just eight months after joining the Catalan giants from the Gunners, having failed to make an impact for Xavi’s side.
He joined the Blues in summer 2022 and was set to link up with former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel, but the German was sacked only seven games into the season.
It has been reported that several clubs including AC Milan and Atletico Madrid – as well as Barca – are monitoring his progress ahead of summer swoops.
Havertz has received backlash for his own poor finishing up top, with the attacking-midfielder-turned-false-nine managing just five goals in the top-flight himself.