Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang apparently flew straight to Milan after being left shocked and disappointed by Chelsea’s decision to dump him out of their Champions League squad just five months after joining the club.
Aubameyang’s Chelsea future is now in major doubt with sources close to the player convinced the club want to get rid of him.
Head coach Graham Potter also left Aubameyang out of his squad for Chelsea’s Premier League goalless draw against Fulham, during which a picture emerged on social media of the 33-year-old in Milan with his family.
The belief around Aubameyang that Chelsea no longer want him will have been heightened by the fact that he was not even mentioned in the club’s Champions League squad announcement on their official website, despite Potter insisting the door is still open to the former Arsenal captain.
“It was my decision and I can understand he is disappointed because it’s a tough call,” said Potter. “He’s done nothing wrong at all, but someone had to miss out and it’s nothing bad against him and he’s done nothing wrong at all.”
Asked if Aubameyang had permission to fly to Milan, Potter added: “He trained really well this morning and he’s got the weekend off. It’s a free world.”
Graham Potter on Aubameyang being dropped: “It was my decision. A tough call.”
Meanwhile, Aubameyang’s brother on Instagram: 📍 Milan 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/4c66e2eITU
— ChelsTransfer (@ChelsTransfer) February 3, 2023
On whether Aubameyang could still play for him this season, Potter said: “Yeah, absolutely. He’s got to train like he did today and be ready to play because football changes quickly, that’s the nature of the game.”
Chelsea confirmed that new signings Enzo Fernández, Mykhaylo Mudryk and on-loan Joao Felix have been added to their Champions League squad for the knock-out stages of the competition.
Having spent almost £300 million on eight players in January, Chelsea could only register three of their new signings in the Champions League, which meant defender Benoît Badiashile, who cost £35 million, and winger Noni Madueke, who was signed for £29 million, had to be left out.
Mudryk and Fernández made their home debuts against Fulham on Friday night but Mudryk was replaced by Madueke at half-time.
“Mudryk had a heavy cold all week,” said Potter. “We knew he could only play a maximum of 60 minutes, but we thought 45 was about right. Enzo handled himself magnificently.”
Registering Fernández, Mudryk and Felix left the club needing to de-register one of their players after Hakim Ziyech’s transfer deadline move to Paris St-Germain broke down.
Rather than leave Ziyech off his 25-man Champions League list, however, Potter decided to dump Aubameyang and explained his decision personally with the striker on Thursday.
Aubameyang was signed by Chelsea from Barcelona for around £12 million while former head coach Thomas Tuchel, who is a big fan of the former Arsenal man, was still in charge.
But Tuchel was sacked just a week later and Chelsea’s owners even made contact with Aubameyang to assure him that the decision would not impact his future or their commitment to him.
Having started well for Potter, scoring in successive games against Crystal Palace and AC Milan in the Champions League home and away, Aubameyang has not scored since October and lost his starting place.
Christian Pulisic is injured and not expected to be fit for either of Chelsea’s last-16 games against Borussia Dortmund, with the club travelling to Germany on February 15 and entertaining Dortmund on March 7. N’Golo Kanté has been out injured since August and is not expected to return until March.