Thomas Tuchel hopes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can be available sooner than expected – possibly as early as next week – after travelling to Italy to get a protective face mask fitted.
Aubameyang suffered a broken jaw in a terrifying armed robbery at his home in Barcelona and flew out to visit the same specialist former defender Antonio Rudiger used after completing his deadline day move to Chelsea on Thursday night.
Aubameyang was expected to be sidelined for a number of weeks but Tuchel said: ‘We try with a mask. It depends a little bit on what the specialists say who create the mask for him.
‘And then how he adapts to the mask so maybe it could be Tuesday [in the Champions League against Dinamo Zagreb], although maybe this is very soon. So maybe it’s Fulham, maybe it is a week later.
‘The very latest [is] after the national break but we try to push things and Auba is happy to push things. He is out there now at the specialist to get his mask done and then he tries, I think, Sunday in training.’
Tuchel knows Aubameyang inside out after managing him at Borussia Dortmund for two seasons during which the striker scored 79 goals in just 95 appearances.
Asked if he had spoken to Aubameyang about his robbery ordeal, Tuchel said: ‘Not yet. But I think it’s the most horrible situation you can think about. If somebody can maybe deal with it and digest it, it’s a personality like Auba.
‘A very positive person but yeah, we need to speak with him about it. He will get all the help that we can give him and all the support but as I know Auba, I think he will very soon love to talk about football and very soon love to get it out of his head by sweating it out. But of course it is something extraordinary that nobody likes to experience.’
Tuchel’s admiration for Aubameyang and his bond with the 33 year-old is evident in the warmth in his words whenever he speaks about him.
Aubameyang left Arsenal under a cloud in February to join Barcelona after falling foul of Mikel Arteta’s rules.
But with the benefit of his own experiences, Tuchel dismissed doubts about Aubameyang’s professionalism and time-keeping, insisting he only went against a club rule once in their time together in Germany and will not have the same issues with the striker that Arteta did.
Tuchel, who described Aubameyang as the ‘top dog’ of his Dortmund team, added: ‘I have a good connection with him. And I truly believe we have zero risk for our dressing room or our building.
‘In Dortmund he was the guy who scored and the kind of fancy personality that people talked about and people reported about.
‘This is also nice? Not everybody has to dress up in dark blue with a boring cap. They can have a nice haircut and fancy car. It is a problem in judging people very quickly. He has this car and this and that so he is unprofessional. Maybe he is just a bit more crazy than us.
‘It is very fine. You need to be a bit outside the box to be special on the field. So for the amount of goals he got, the amount of attention he got he was a very well behaved number nine in Dortmund and I have no doubt he will be here.’
And Tuchel revealed he made an exception to bring Aubameyang to Chelsea.
He said: ‘I’m in general struggling a little bit with bringing players back. I’m not the biggest fan in doing this.
‘It’s just my thing. I don’t need to be right with it. It’s just my concern. Sometimes, you have a picture of that player and when the player arrives you suddenly need to realise he’s not that same guy anymore – he’s older, different experience, he thinks about you in a different way. It can happen — not only in football by the way.
‘I cannot say that it will not happen, but the point I am aware of I think is good because I maybe have a high chance not to go into the trap and wait for the Auba from Dortmund.
‘I will see how he is, how he behaves. But if you look at his record, even his statistics in Arsenal, where things got a bit complicated in the end, and even in Barcelona when you see the minutes he played and the goals he scored, he did what he did wherever he was, and he did it in a certain style. We checked, of course, his data, we checked his top speeds. He still has the top speed, so why not?’