How De Jong is pushing Aubameyang out of Barcelona
Barca have made a number of expensive additions in this transfer window; Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and Jules Kounde.
Despite that, they are still looking to add Manchester City star Bernardo Silva to their ranks.
But the Catalan club can't afford to do so without selling one their top earners to balance the books.
De Jong looked the most likely to leave, with Manchester United and Chelsea reportedly interested, but he is adamant that he wants to stay at Camp Nou.
As a result, Xavi will have to lose a different member, or two, of the first-team squad.
And Chelsea's interest in Aubameyang could provide a solution to the problem.
Given his age, 33, Barca will not be able to command the same transfer fee as they would with De Jong, but the funds will be important nonetheless.
Indeed, they have set an asking price of €25 million, which The Blues are more than capable of paying to resolve their goalscoring issues.
So, how will Chelsea line up with Aubameyang in their forward line?
Chelsea with Aubameyang
Chelsea should retain their trusted 5-2-3 formation, used frequently by Tuchel since he took over the side back in January 2021.
Edouard Mendy will continue in goal; he has no real competition from Kepa Arrizabalaga or Marcus Bettinelli.
The back line will see the biggest changes as Kalidou Koulibaly and Wesley Fofana come in, replacing Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen.
Thiago Silva will retain his place in the middle of the back three, hoping to remain at the top of his game at 37 years of age.
The left wing-back could be Marc Cucurella, who joined in a £62 million deal from Brighton. Ben Chilwell would be unlucky to miss out.
On the right, Reece James, who was excellent in the last campaign, will keep his place.
Chelsea are in direct contact for Pierre Aubameyang and Wesley Fofana as priority deals, but still working on top talents for the future. New round of talks scheduled with Inter for Cesare Casadei next week. 🚨🔵 #CFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 14, 2022
Race still open but Chelsea want to try again with new bid.
In midfield, the duo of Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante could be preferred, with Jorginho and Conor Gallagher ready to step up when needed.
Up front, new signing Sterling will take his place on the left, hoping to provide the same attacking threat he displayed consistently at Manchester City.
He’ll be supported by Mason Mount on the right side with Aubameyang up top, who excelled under Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund.