Chelsea

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates with Mason Mount after scoring for Chelsea against AC Milan in the Champions League
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored the last of his three goals for Chelsea in a 2-0 win at AC Milan in the Champions League in October

Marseille have signed Chelsea striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The 34-year-old Gabon forward scored just three goals in 22 appearances for Chelsea after joining from Barcelona in a £10.3m deal last September.

Neither club have revealed whether Marseille have paid a fee for the France-born player.

Aubameyang exits the Premier League for the second time in 18 months, having spent four years at Arsenal from 2018 before joining Barca in January 2022.

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He scored 13 goals in 23 matches in his six months in Spain, but was unable to replicate that form under three different managers during a season-long stay at Stamford Bridge.

The 2015 African footballer of the year arrived at the end of the summer transfer window and made just one appearance under Thomas Tuchel, his former boss at Borussia Dortmund, before the German was sacked and replaced by Graham Potter.

A run of three goals in three appearances in October signalled a potential return to form, but Aubameyang failed to make the scoresheet again.

He was left out of Chelsea’s Champions League squad for the knockout rounds after a slew of new signings arrived in January, including forwards Mykhailo Mudryk and Noni Madueke.

Potter’s departure in April saw caretaker boss Frank Lampard restore Aubameyang to the first team, culminating in a poor display in a 3-1 defeat at former club Arsenal in early May.

After touching the ball just nine times in the opening 45 minutes – including four from kick-offs – Aubameyang was substituted at half-time and never played for the West London club again.

A return to Ligue 1 follows spells in France at the start of his career at Dijon, Lille, Monaco and St Etienne, where he won the Coupe de la Ligue in 2013.

Aubameyang is the latest departure during what has been a summer of change for Chelsea under new manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic has signed for Manchester City, Kai Havertz has joined Arsenal and Mason Mount has moved to Manchester United, while goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and defender Kalidou Koulibaly have made the switch to Saudi Pro League side Al-Ahli.

N’Golo Kante has also moved to Saudi Arabia, joining Al-Ittihad, while midfielders Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic have joined AC Milan and former captain Cesar Azpilicueta is now an Atletico Madrid player.

The Blues have made just three signings – Brazilian winger Angelo Gabriel, 18, from Santos, France forward Christopher Nkunku, 25, from RB Leipzig, and 22-year-old Senegal striker Nicolas Jackson from Villarreal.

  • Marseille told to pay Watford £2.3m

The curse of Chelsea’s number nine shirt?

Tuchel previously joked that Chelsea players thought the number nine shirt was “cursed – nobody wants to touch it” shortly before Aubameyang signed and took that number.

The last 12 players now to wear the shirt – including three club record signings up front, but also a midfielder and a defender – have struggled to make a prolonged impact at Stamford Bridge.

Chris Sutton (one), Mateja Kezman (four), Franco di Santo (zero), Radamel Falcao (one), Gonzalo Higuain (five), Romelu Lukaku (eight) and Aubameyang (one) are among the strikers to wear the shirt for one season and fail to reach double figures in the league.

Midfielder Steve Sidwell and defender Khalid Boulahrouz made less than 30 combined Premier League appearances for the club when they wore the number nine.

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