Chelsea chief Todd Boehly faces £10m transfer headache

Graham Potter agrees Chelsea's points return isn't good enough

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Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly may be regretting the club’s decision to splash out on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the summer as the striker’s stint at Stamford Bridge hit a new low against Manchester City on Thursday night. The 33-year-old’s move to west London divided opinion from the start after his long stint at Arsenal came to a messy conclusion. 

Big news was made on deadline day last summer when Aubameyang returned to London for £10million just six months after he had left. A short-term spell at Barcelona, during which he scored 13 goals in 23 games, was enough to convince Thomas Tuchel that he could make a difference at Chelsea. 

The striker was left in an awkward spot less than a week later, however, when Tuchel was ruthlessly sacked by the Blues. Fans had been looking forward to seeing what the pair could produce together, having previously formed a devastating player-manager partnership at Borussia Dortmund. 

Aubameyang has looked lost under new boss Graham Potter and their relationship certainly didn’t get any better on Thursday night, when he came on as an early substitute only to be substituted himself midway through the second half. 

The former Gabon international shook his head when seeing his number and gave Potter a frosty reception before taking his spot back on the bench. With the Blues in need of a goal, the fact Potter turned to unproven academy stars Lewis Hall and Omari Hutchinson instead of Aubameyang told its own story. 

The youngsters injected energy but Riyad Mahrez’s second-half finish was enough to see City seal a 1-0 win. With one goal in nine Premier League games this season, Aubameyang’s return in front of goal has left plenty to be desired and Boehly may already feel that the £10m spent on the forward was bad business. 

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Aubameyang was already beginning to slow down by the time he left Arsenal in February last year, with four goals in 14 games in the first half of the season before he headed to the Nou Camp. A rift with manager Mikel Arteta might also have stopped Boehly in his tracks but Chelsea pressed on with their summer move regardless. 

The striker had been stripped of the captaincy at the Emirates following a disciplinary issue and the Gunners shelled out millions to pay off his contract and ship him out of the squad. Speaking after the narrow defeat to Pep Guardiola’s City, Potter addressed his decision to haul Aubameyang off and insisted that the veteran forward ‘put in a shift’. 

“He came on after one minute and hadn’t played for a while,” the Chelsea boss told reporters. “He put in a shift for us and I thought he did his bit for the team. He fatigued a bit so we thought we needed a bit of energy and the subs brought that.

“I haven’t had time to speak to him in depth but he understands. Players want to help the team and it’s a decision that had to be made. He gave everything for the team. That was the decision.”

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