Chelsea have flown Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was signed on the deadline, directly to Milan to be fitted with a mask in a bid to make his debut for the club as soon as possible.
Head coach Thomas Tuchel has refused to completely sideline Aubameyang in Tuesday night’s opening match of the Champions League group stage against Dinamo Zagreb, despite the 33-year-old suffered a broken jaw in a robbery just days before his move from home. Barcelona.
Aubameyang was expected to make his Chelsea debut after this month’s international break, but the former Arsenal captain was flown straight to Italy to be fitted with a mask by Ortholabsport, a Milan orthopedic specialist.
The company has successfully made masks for former Chelsea players Antonio Rudiger, Cesc Fabregas, Demba Ba and Fernando Torres in the past, and Tuchel hopes Aubameyang can play with his broken jaw if the right kind of protection can be created.
“We’ll try with a mask,” Tuchel said. “It kind of depends on what the specialists who make the mask for him say. And then how he adapts to the mask, so maybe it could be Tuesday, although this might be very soon. So maybe it’s Fulham, maybe it’s a week later.
“The very last thing is after the national break, but we are trying to push things and Auba is happy to push things. He is now at the specialist to have his mask done and then I think he will try training on Sunday.”
Along with Chelsea’s other deadline-day signing, loaned midfielder Denis Zakaria awaiting a work permit, Aubameyang, who has taken the club’s number 9 shirt that previous attackers have claimed is cursed, will play the Premier League game of Saturday against West Ham. United. Defender Wesley Fofana, who cost £69.5 million, is available to make his debut.
Aubameyang’s move to Chelsea carries a sense of destiny, not just due to the fact that Tuchel has previously worked with him successfully at Borussia Dortmund.
“Maybe he’s just a little crazier than us”
Telegraph Sport understands that Chelsea first considered signing Aubameyang as a young winger at Saint-Etienne but decided he was not physically ready for the Premier League.
After joining Dortmund and becoming a prolific striker, Chelsea discussed signing Aubameyang, according to a source, in nearly every transfer window. During his time at Arsenal, Frank Lampard also advised the club to sign the Gabon international in the summer they bought Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
“In general, I struggle a bit with bringing players back (to work with me) because there’s a risk that the player has an image of you, but you’re not the same person anymore and maybe the player isn’t the same person anymore and this can cause a bit of disappointment or a bit of mixed feelings,” said Tuchel.
“It can happen – not just in football, by the way! I can’t say it won’t happen, but the point I know, I think it’s good because I may have a good chance not to fall into the trap and wait for Dortmund’s Auba.
“I’ll see how he is, I’ll see how he behaves. But if you look at his track record, even his stats in Arsenal, where things got a little complicated in the end, and even in Barcelona, if you look to the minutes he played and the goals he scored he did what he did wherever he was and he did it in a certain style we checked his records of course we checked his top speeds he still has the top speed, so why not?”