Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored 11 goals in just 17 games for Football Club Barcelona after joining them in January this year. The Gabonese forward played a crucial role in helping Xavi Hernandez guide the team to second place in La Liga after a dreadful start to the 2021-22 campaign.

Are Barcelona now ready to sacrifice the former Arsenal skipper after just six months? Chelsea are reportedly interested in signing the Gabon international after seeing Romelu Lukaku leave for Inter Milan on a season-long loan.

The Catalan giants signed Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich this summer. Europe's top marksman is expected to be Xavi's starting number nine, which could see Aubameyang relegated to the bench unless he is deployed on the right wing - a position he is accustomed to.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates his second goal in Barcelona's 4-0 thrashing of Real Madrid on Sunday AFP / JAVIER SORIANO

Barcelona are blessed with riches in the attacking department following the arrivals of Lewandowski and Raphinha this summer. Xavi also signed Ferran Torres in January, while Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati are also available to the manager.

Aubameyang, however, has proven during his short stint at the Camp Nou that he can guarantee goals. It is unlikely that Xavi will allow the former Borussia Dortmund forward to leave this summer, especially after the club made Dutch attacker Memphis Depay available for transfer.

However, Barcelona's need to balance their wage bill and register new signings - like Raphinha, Lewandowski and Jules Kounde - could see them make a sacrifice. The club will be able to generate funds through Aubameyang's sale owing to his three-year contract while also getting his wages of the books.

Newly-appointed Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez (right) alongside club president Joan Laporta at Camp Nou on Monday. LLUIS GENE/AFP

According to Italian transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea have put the Gabonese striker on their wanted list. The Blues are yet to submit a formal offer, but are said to have opened talks with Aubameyang's representatives about returning to the Premier League.

The 33-year-old has worked with Thomas Tuchel during their time together at Dortmund. The German coach has previously spoken of his admiration for Aubameyang, and the veteran forward is said to be among two other options the English club are considering.

The 2022-23 Premier League season gets underway on Friday with Crystal Palace hosting Arsenal in the opening game. Chelsea start their campaign with a game against Frank Lampard's Everton on Saturday, Aug. 6.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left Arsenal to join Barcelona in January Shaun Botterill/POOL