Chelsea could ensure misery for Arsenal in the Carabao Cup final next month and their work in the transfer window this month could also spell trouble for the Gunners.
That’s because the Blues are rumoured to be leading the race for Ousmane Dembele’s signature, according to French outlet L’Equipe via Sport Witness.
The 24-year-old, who has also been reportedly subject to interest from Arsenal, sees his current deal at Barcelona expire in the summer, making him available on a free transfer.
And the availability of Thomas Tuchel’s former protege offers an intriguing option to the Blues ahead of a critical summer transfer window. Not least for how any move could potentially complicate Arsenal’s own approach for Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic.
The Gunners are continuing to push for the signature of Vlahovic in the January transfer window, football.london understands.
Chelsea settled their own No.9 problem with the addition of Romelu Lukaku last summer and will know how key a signing in that position can prove, which is why Arsenal’s protracted talks over a move for Vlahovic present an opportunity for the Blues to fend off an improving potential rival in seasons to come.
Pierre-Emerick Aubmeyang’s future remains a huge issue for Arsenal with the forward having 18 months left on his current deal at the Emirates, losing his starring role at Arsenal and being demoted as club captain.
Dembele is very much someone who can bring the best out of Aubameyang having guided the Gunners frontman to the best goalscoring season of his career, directly contributing towards 12 of his 40 goals across the 2016/17 season.
And while only a rumour at this stage, the idea of Tuchel reuniting with a player he won the DFB Pokal together with previously makes for a potentially potent addition to the Blues’ forward ranks if he can rediscover some of his form from last season where he notched 13 goals in 50 games across all competitions for club and country.
Couple that with the fact it would remove the prospect of any attempt from Arsenal to reunite the duo and there is an incentive for Chelsea to explore the possibility of a deal, even if his injury record does need to be factored into the equation.
Aubameyang is now goalless in his last six Premier League appearances at Arsenal and, with the captaincy saga in mind, the Gabon international is desperately in need of a catalyst like Dembele to change his dwindling fortunes.
But with Chelsea reportedly leading that particular race for a player who will be among a number of clubs’ attacking shortlists, Arsenal will be left to concentrate on trying to prise Vlahovic from Fiorentina, with eye-watering sums reported. It also leaves Aubameyang’s own future up in the air and while he is a player Chelsea have considered previously, there is no suggestion they would look to recreate the partnership Tuchel had between them at Dortmund.
Even owing to Lukaku’s recent controversial comments about his future, Chelsea are not in need of another expensively-recruited striker and Aubameyang’s wages would prove prohibitive to most clubs. And that leaves Arsenal in a difficult position for moving forward with any move for a high-profile striker when they haven’t solved the future of their own.
Dembele would not be a priority for Arsenal right now in any case having made Vlahovic their key target in this particular window and are willing to pay upwards of £70m for the 21-year-old as they look to try and proactively replace Aubameyang.
It’s a level of expenditure that Chelsea are often accused by their London rivals of doing to uneven the game. But potentially smart pick-ups like Dembele could be the kind of antidote to those suggestions if he was brought in on a free.
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With Dembele reportedly under consideration for a Stamford Bridge switch, Chelsea could use the winger to ignite their own struggling strikeforce into action and leave Arsenal with an unsolved striker crisis in the process.
Granovskaia‘s reported ploy to lure the £136m Barcelona forward away from Camp Nou on a Bosman feels like a two-fold win for Chelsea, a fresh attacking option for the frontline ranks and a chance to remove Aubameyang’s previous partner in crime – and a possible solution to their rivals’ own goalscoring woes.
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