Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Arsenal this evening, Thomas Tuchel has provided insight into his special relationship with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Borussia Dortmund.
Appointing Tuchel at the tail end of January has proven to be a masterstroke from the Chelsea board. While Frank Lampard struggled to get the best out of this squad of players, which is rich in talent, the German has turned them into a force.
One thing that you could argue the Blues are lacking in, however, is firepower at the spearhead of their attack. Timo Werner has not proven to the the goal-scoring machine that they were hoping for when they signed him from RB Leipzig last summer.
Chelsea need a reliable, 20-a-season striker, a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang type, a player that their sturdy defence will be tested by when the two sides meet on the Stamford Bridge turf tonight.
Aubameyang and Tuchel have history, too, with the pair having worked together at Borussia Dortmund. As quoted by the Daily Mail, Tuchel has provided insight into just how much Aubameyang means to him on a personal and professional level:
“It was a pure pleasure to have him in the squad.”
“A fantastic striker, a fantastic finisher but more than that, a fantastic worker off the pitch. Always with a smile on his face. Very, very honest. A bit of a crazy guy but nice crazy.”
“He did not miss one single training session in two years. Maybe he arrived five minutes late, that can happen with him, but if he does this, he is in a hurry, he has excuses, he is sorry and he has still a smile on his face. That’s him, and it’s hard to be really mad with the guy. He has a big heart.”
“When we wanted him to be on time, we told him the meeting was 10.45am when the meeting was 11am so there was a good chance he would be there with everyone else. You could hear his car from a kilometre away. We could prepare everything, start the video because he will arrive soon.”
“I still don’t know how he managed to keep the driving licence in his pocket because from the sound of the car I don’t know if he was always on the speed limit.”
“He delivered an unbelievable amount of goals. His speed was unique in the Bundesliga and he was a crucial player.”
“Yes [Tuchel is surprised Aubameyang hasn’t won more trophies], because he is a winner. I never had a feeling he lacks a certain edge of mentality. But clearly he cannot do it alone. He also needs a top squad to play in to compete for the highest level.”
“In my experiences with Auba, you could push him to the limit and he was always up for a challenge, open to the next step, open to stay hungry, never lazy, never satisfied with one goal, two goals, always going for a third. I had a strong feeling that he is a real winner and you can rely on him.”
“We exchange messages when one of us has a big win. In some ways, it feels like he will always be my player, so you want him to succeed and have a good time. It will be nice to see him because he’s always on for a hug and it’s nice to see him laugh, but, of course, we want to stop him.”
It’s the last thing that Mikel Arteta will have wanted ahead of a game of this magnitude, the opposition manager flirting with his captain, but you’d be lying if you said that it wasn’t all very typically Arsenal.
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