Thomas Tuchel’s hope of reuniting with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is slowed down by personal terms.
The Barcelona striker wants a deal for at least two years while Chelsea are only willing to offer a one-year contract.
Aubameyang is 33 and Chelsea is aware of his age and sticking to a long-term agreement – broadly in line with their policy towards older players.
It is still hoped that a compromise can be found and the former Arsenal captain will return to the Premier League before next Thursday’s transfer deadline.
Tuchel wants Aubameyang to join him at Stamford Bridge and provide the much needed outlet in front of goal as a powerful striker with bags of experience.
At the moment, Chelsea rely on the use of so-called “false nines” – using attacking midfielder Kai Havertz or Raheem Sterling in the usual attacking position.
Tuchel could call up rookie Armando Bruga, but the 20-year-old Albanian has just one full spell under his belt in the Premier League on loan at Southampton last season where he was impressive, scoring nine goals.
Aubameyang has a deal until 2025 at Barcelona although there is a chance to renegotiate at the end of this season.
He previously played with Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund and the pair remained close.
Chelsea are reluctant to award long-term contracts to players over the age of 30 and have had problems in the past with this.
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As a result, left defender David Luiz and winger Willian.
Current captain Cesar Azpilicueta was tempted to leave in the summer when Barcelona offered him a longer contract than was offered at Stamford Bridge, although he eventually stayed.
Chelsea and Barcelona largely agree on Aubameyang with a fee of around £25m – but he now needs the player and club to sort out the terms.