The career of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Barcelona seems to be nearing its end. If he does leave, it’ll mark a very short stay for the Gabonese striker at Camp Nou. He only joined them towards the end of the January transfer window earlier this year and hasn’t even spent a whole year with them.
With Barça opting to sign Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich, they no longer consider Aubameyang a key first-team player. Chelsea are really eager to sign him, with Thomas Tuchel – who worked with him at Borussia Dortmund – wanting to work with the striker again.
If they do end up selling the 33-year-old to the Premier League side, Barça will probably get a decent transfer fee and also be allowed to free their wage bill even further. But then again, they’ll probably need a replacement centre-forward to be a back-up for Lewandowski. Here we look at 3 cheap replacement options they can look to sign.
Luis Muriel to replace Aubameyang?
If the Blaugrana wants to potentially replace Aubameyang with someone able to make an impact from the bench, Luis Muriel can be a solid option. The Colombian striker is an incisive, clinical striker who knows how to get inside the heads of defenders. In 283 Serie A appearances, he’s scored 98 goals and provided 43 assists.
He also had 10 goal contributions in 35 La Liga appearances during a short spell with Sevilla a few years ago. The 31-year-old can play up front, as well as a winger and attacking midfielder. WhoScored claims his passing ability, dribbling ability, set-piece technical and finishing prowess as some of his biggest strengths.
Muriel is the kind of striker who can glide past defenders to score a goal or even capitalize on chances handed to him inside the box. He’s valued at around just €20m (as per Transfrmarkt) and wouldn’t demand high wages – which means a short-term move for him can be smart.
Espanyol star Raul de Tomas in for Aubameyang
Barcelona can go shopping to their closest rivals in the hunt for a potential Aubameyang replacement. Espanyol striker Raul de Tomas has emerged as one of La Liga’s more under-rated strikers in recent seasons, as he’s tormented defenders and saved his side from trouble time and again.
He scored 17 goals in La Liga last season and has over 100 overall career goals. The 27-year-old is in his prime right now and WhoScored cites his finishing, heading and hold-up play attributes as his biggest strengths. De Tomas is valued at only €25m (via Transfermarkt) and has a relatively low wage at a lowly side like Espanyol.
Despite being a “rival” for Barça and an ex-Real Madrid youth academy graduate, the Spaniard is unlikely to say no if the Blaugrana come calling. In De Tomas, they can get a rapid, hard-working striker who can add a new dimension to their strike force and act as a solid backup or alternative to Lewandowski.
Rangers icon Alfredo Morelos can be the budget Auba
Alfredo Morelos has become a bit of a cult hero at Rangers, having helped them to a lot of success in the last few seasons. The Colombian forward has been a goal machine for the Scottish side since joining them in 2017, having scored 114 goals and provided 52 assists in 228 appearances for them.
But even in European competition, the 26-year-old has a solid 33 goals in 64 appearances and has proven himself capable of tormenting continental opposition too. With Morelos only having one year remaining on his deal, he could be snapped up for a cheap fee. The Colombian is only valued at around €13m (as per Transfermarkt), which Barça can probably afford to spend on an Aubameyang replacement.
Morelos’ strong skills are his passing, hold-up play and finishing ability (as per WhoScored) – which make him ideal for Barça’s playing style. He’d probably be happy playing as second-choice to Lewandowski and can pop up with goals using his clinical style when he’s having an off day, ensuring a prolific forward line for Xavi’s side.