abu calling? | 

Chelsea downplay fresh Cristiano Ronaldo rumours as striker target is revealed

Blues ready to make a move for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel gestures during the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London. Picture date: Sunday August 14, 2022.© PA

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Chelsea continue to be linked with a move to bring Cristiano Ronaldo to Stamford Bridge, but it appears another veteran marksman has emerged as their chief transfer target.

Former Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the striker Blues boss Thomas Tuchel is ready to call upon, as he looks to be re-united with the marksman who enjoyed so much joy under his management at Borussia Dortmund.

Aubameyang left Arsenal to sign for Barcelona amid much acrimony in January, as his fall-out with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta dominated the London soccer agenda before the player was finally sold.

Now it has emerged he is closing in on a return to London, with Chelsea in talks with Barcelona over a deal for the striker who scored 13 goals in 23 appearances for the Catalan club in the second half of last season.

Barcelona are keen to off-load some of the highest earning stars as they look to reshape their squad and stay within the tight financial regulations in Spanish football.

Former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in 2016. Credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire© PA

That has encouraged them to consider a deal to sell Aubameyang, who has also been linked with Manchester United in recent days.

At the age of 33, the Gabon striker may not be a long-term option for Chelsea, but they are in desperate need of a proven marksman after allowing Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner to leave this summer.

Aubamayang scored 79 goals in 95 games under Tuchel’s watch at Dortmund and a reunion could hold the key to Chelsea season if the Blues boss can get the best out of the veteran forward once again.

Chelsea officials have also continued to deny suggestions that the club are interested in signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United.

Meanwhile, United States manager Gregg Berhalter has backed “fighter” Christian Pulisic to prove his worth as speculation continues over the Chelsea forward’s future.

A big-money signing from Borussia Dortmund in 2019, the 23-year-old has become frustrated at the lack of starts he is making under Thomas Tuchel.

The looming winter World Cup has sharpened Pulisic’s focus and he is reported to be of interest to a variety of clubs, from Manchester United and Newcastle to Atletico Madrid and Juventus.

The US captain could still end up staying put and Berhalter believes he will come good even if he remains with Chelsea until the tournament gets under way in Qatar.

“He’s a fighter,” the USA manager said at a Major League Soccer event. “You’re going to see. He’s going to get on the field.

“I mean, every year it’s ‘he may not be a starter’, right? Every year you hear that and every year he ends up on the field because of his contribution.

“He’s a goalscorer, he’s a winner. What I’ve seen from him in the last couple of years is his mentality has completely shifted and he embraces stuff like this.

“He’s not scared of challenges like (he has at Chelsea) and I’m excited to see how he performs this year.”

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