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Barcelona make Chelsea's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang top No 9 target; Liverpool's Roberto Firmino on shortlist

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined Chelsea from Barcelona last summer for £10.3m; striker has scored three goals in 20 games, although only 10 have been starts; 33-year-old scored 13 goals in 24 games for LaLiga leaders during the second half of last season

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Image: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang joined Chelsea from Barcelona last summer

Barcelona have made Chelsea’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang their top No 9 target this summer on a striker list that also includes Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino.

The LaLiga leaders want to re-sign Aubameyang, who made a lasting impression on the Barca dressing room during his spell at the club last year, as competition for Robert Lewandowski.

Manager Xavi is understood to see the Gabon striker as a slightly different option to the Poland captain, but the financial aspect of re-signing him from Chelsea will not be straightforward - and Firmino will be a free agent when his Liverpool contract expires on July 1.

Aubameyang is understood to have remained a consummate professional at Stamford Bridge having been told he would not be part of previous boss Graham Potter’s plans, and being omitted from their squad for the Champions League knockout stages.

The 33-year-old's attitude is said to have remained first class and he has trained well with the intention of still trying to win a place in the team, having come off the bench in the games against Tottenham and Wolves this year.

Roberto Firmino celebrates after scoring Liverpool's seventh goal against Manchester United
Image: Roberto Firmino will leave Liverpool at the end of his contract in the summer

Aubameyang is still not part of Chelsea’s long-term plans however, and they are happy for him to move on this summer in what is expected to be a significant clear-out of players due to the number of additions they made in the last two transfer windows.

Barca were keen to bring Aubameyang back to the club in January but were unable to commit the necessary funds.

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The club are trying to negotiate more flexibility with LaLiga for next season, which they hope will also include the return of Lionel Messi, but they remain at the limit of their financial fair play capacity as things stand.

Firmino’s status as a free agent, having announced earlier this year he would be leaving Anfield, therefore brings him into play as another serious option, along with another impending free agent, Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram.

Barca’s list also contains the 18-year-old Athletico Paranaense striker Vitor Roque.

Aubameyang, whose situation is also being monitored by clubs in Italy and Germany, is understood to be keen on a return to Barca, and the intention is to work towards this outcome in the coming weeks, with his Chelsea contract still having a year left to run.

The former Arsenal forward has not enjoyed a happy return to London with Chelsea, scoring three goals in 20 appearances in all competitions - 10 of which have been starts.

Aubameyang joined the Blues from Barcelona for £10.3m last summer after a productive spell at the Nou Camp during the second half of the 2021/22 season, scoring 13 goals in 24 games in all competitions.

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