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Five reasons Chelsea fans should be confident that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the striker they need

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Chelsea fans could be set for a major boost as the Mirror claim that the club are nearing a £65 million deal for Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The striker has developed a reputation as one of the most feared forwards in Europe since moving to Germany after spells in France and Italy, but what exactly can Blues’ fans expect from their potential new addition if he does move to Stamford Bridge?

He scores nearly a goal a game

With 40 goals in 44 games in 2016/17, there is every reason to believe that Aubameyang will be a prolific addition for Antonio Conte. Having scored more goals every season since 2012/13, when he first moved to the Bundesliga, he has managed more than 25 per season in each of the past three seasons.

He’ll join a select group of Gabonese players in the Premier League

The Gabon national team captain, he will follow in the footsteps of former Hull midfielder Daniel Cousin as the only Gabonese player to grace the Premier League as he made 30 appearances between 2008 and 2010. Aubameyang was the first to play in Bundesliga and got off to a good start by scoring a hat-trick on his debut.

He can cover 30 metres in 3.7 seconds

The striker has pace to burn and was recently clocked covering 30m in just 3.7 seconds, a time which would be impressive even for an elite athlete competing in the 100m race.

He is one of Africa’s brightest talents

Since first being nominated for the African Footballer of the Year award in 2014, where he finished second, Aubameyang has followed it up by winning the award in 2015 and then being award the runners-up prize behind Riyad Mahrez in 2016.

He’s proven at the very highest level

Aubameyang has scored 18 goals in 23 games in European competitions in the past two seasons. If Antonio Conte is looking for a striker with a proven track record in the Champions League then he could get one in the Dortmund star.

Featured Image: All rights reserved by Ai Kagou.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

Arsenal

Everton should prioritise landing Borussia Dortmund star Mario Gotze

Marco Silva should go all out to make this deal happen.

Jamie Watts

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Marco Silva is aiming to make a statement of intent in the market this summer, as Everton owner Farhad Moshiri targets a return to European football in the near future. And the club has now been linked with a sensational move for Borussia Dortmund maestro Mario Gotze, according to Sky Sports.

The 2014 World Cup Golden Boy has struggled to nail down a regular starting position, since returning to Dortmund from Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich in 2016. And is struggling to get back to the form that saw him widely recognised as one of the finest play-makers in world football.

However, despite his modest return of two goals and seven assists in 32 appearances, he began showing glimpses of his best form for the Bundesliga giants, and if Marco Silva can bring the best out of him, he could instantly elevate Everton to higher levels next season.

Photo: Getty Images

Toffees fans bemoaned the pragmatic style of football under Sam Allardyce last term, having finished 19th for number of shots registered, shots on target and chances created in England’s top tier, highlighting the need for creative players this summer and Gotze certainly fits the bracket.

However, the player has garnered a reputation for being injury prone in recent years – having missed 13 games last season (tranfermarkt) – and the investment would be something of a risk for the Portuguese manager.

Photo: Getty Images

If Everton are to return to European football, Gotze is the calibre of player that needs to be targeted though, and he is certainly worth the risk.

The 26-year-old was arguably the most influential player in Dortmund’s recent ascendancy, alongside Marco Reus, as the club won back-to-back Bundesliga titles and the DFB Cup in 2012 – ironically under the tenure of the now Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Gotze has two years remaining on his contract at the Westfalenstadion and will likely cost a hefty price, having returned to Dortmund for around £22 million in his last move.

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Borussia Dortmund

A move to Borussia Dortmund would be ideal for exiled Simon Mignolet

The Belgian goalkeeper has fallen behind Lorius Karius in the Anfield pecking order.

Max Cohen

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Photo: Getty Images

Without a league appearance for Liverpool since New Year’s Day, Simon Mignolet has been completely frozen out at Anfield after inconsistent performances.

Recent reports in The Sun have linked the Belgian goalkeeper with a transfer to Borussia Dortmund, a move that would perfectly suit the 30-year-old in a bid to rejuvenate his career.

The former Liverpool number one has split time with Lorius Karius after the German joined the Reds in the summer of 2016, but seems to have been finally supplanted as the first choice goalkeeper this winter.

The tipping point perhaps came in Liverpool’s 3-3 draw with Arsenal in late December. Mignolet made a number of high-profile errors at the Emirates, most notably failing to deal with Granit Xhaka’s speculative long-range strike.

During his horror show against Arsenal, the Belgian earned an abysmal WhoScored rating of 4.88. He made just two Premier League appearances after that match before Karius took over between the sticks.

(Photo by Paul Ellis/Getty Images)

It now seems clear that the Belgian’s time at Anfield has come to an end after five years at the club.

With the Reds constantly linked with the continent’s top goalkeepers such as Alisson Becker, as reported earlier by the Mirror, Mignolet will find himself well down the pecking order at Liverpool.

A move to the Westfalenstadion would be a tremendous opportunity for Mignolet to ply his trade at one of the biggest clubs in Europe, with Champions League football and an adulating fan base on offer.

The 30-year-old still has many productive years left in his career, and can still provide some moments of world-class quality in goal.

A transfer to Borussia Dortmund would grant Mignolet first-team football and a chance to impress at the highest level of European football.

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Three talking points as Tottenham secured top spot with a Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund

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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham ensured that they progressed to the Champions League knock-out stages as Group H winners after coming from behind to see off Borussia Dortmund in Germany on Tuesday night.

Dortmund – who were reliant on Real Madrid dropping points at Cypriot minnows APOEL Nicosia in the evening’s other fixture to stand any chance of progressing to the last 16 – took the early advantage when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finished smartly from Andriy Yarmolenko’s clever flick.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side nearly crafted an equaliser before the break, only for both Christian Eriksen and Eric Dier to be denied in the space of a few minutes after superb work by ‘keeper Roman Burki.

But it didn’t take long for the visitors to draw level in the second-half, with Harry Kane afforded too much space on the edge of the box as he arrowed an effort into the corner with his first real chance.

Son Heung-min’s effort 15 minutes from time, a fine curling finish after tenacious work from Dele Alli, then sealed the turnaround and condemned the hosts to a shock early Champions League exit.

Tottenham bounce back after derby disappointment

After Saturday’s harrowing and disappointing defeat to old foes Arsenal, manager Mauricio Pochettino summed up Tuesday’s performance perfectly by labelling it as the ‘perfect reaction’.

It is hard to disagree with the Argentinian either, with his side displaying far more grit, determination and character at the Westfalenstadion to forget about their Premier League defeat and come from behind to beat a strong Borussia Dortmund outfit, securing their surprise status as Group H winners.

It seemed like they were suffering a North London derby hangover of sorts when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired the hosts in front on the half-hour mark, but Spurs dug deep and showed that they are aiming to do more than just make up the numbers in the Champions League this campaign.

All of a sudden they burst into life after the break, with Harry Kane and Dele Alli – who were both anonymous at the Gunners – getting involved more and causing problems for a tiring home defence.

It was the former who levelled things up when Kane’s neat low drive found the back of the net, signalling his sixth Champions League goal in five appearances this season, whilst Alli was influential in assisting both goals, seeing off two Dortmund defenders before laying off to Son Heung-min for his winner.

It wasn’t a match that needed to be won, considering Tottenham had already secured their safe passage into the knock-out stages, but the manner of victory will no doubt send out a message across Europe.

Dortmund’s decline ends in Champions League exit

Yet, whilst Tottenham will be buoyant and nervously await the draw for the last 16 next month, Borussia Dortmund will be reflecting on where things went wrong after a dismal European outing this season.

Despite having a number of world-class individuals in their ranks – Aubameyang, Shinji Kagawa, the young Christian Pulisic, Mario Gotze and the injured Marco Reus are all part of the squad at the disposal of manager Peter Bosz – it’s been a stuttering season both in Europe and domestically too.

Their inability to beat Cypriot minnows APOEL Nicosia across two matches all-but put an end to any aspirations of knock-out football, and it seems that the Europa League will now be their next destination.

Add this to their woeful Bundesliga form of late, losing four of their last five matches and drawing the other one to leave them nine points adrift of the top of the table, and warning signs are now flashing.

It’s all a stark contrast to 2013, the year that the German side fell narrowly short in the Champions League final, and it’s clear for all to see that something is fundamentally not right just four years on.

The fact that Aubameyang – who was left out of the Dortmund squad for their Bundesliga defeat at Stuttgart last week after being sanctioned by Bosz – barely celebrated a sublime goal tells its own story of the club’s affairs, and it seems that the head coach could be walking on a very fine tightrope.

Pochettino’s conundrum after Aurier impresses

One thing that was clear from Pochettino’s team selection on Tuesday, other than the clear fact that he was looking for a quick response to the Arsenal defeat by selecting a strong side, was that summer signing Serge Aurier seems to be the preferred right-back option for the Champions League this season.

The £24 million man may have garnered a reputation for being a bit erratic but, contrary to some of his rash moments this season, he played with an element of maturity and care on Tuesday evening.

He certainly warranted his selection at Dortmund, always offering an outlet on the right-wing and constantly finding himself with a wealth of space to run into behind their captain Marcel Schmelzer.

Aurier’s delivery was generally accurate too, forcing the Dortmund defence into last-ditch blocks inside their own area with Kane lurking, whilst he kept things compact alongside Davinson Sanchez at the back.

It would no doubt have hurt the Ivorian to have been omitted from the side for the mightily impressive win over Real Madrid after playing in Tottenham’s opening three European matches, but on Tuesday’s showing he’s laid down a marker for rival Kieran Trippier ahead of the knock-out stages.

Considering the question marks hanging over the head of boss Pochettino about whether Kyle Walker could be replaced it’s certainly not a bad dilemma to have, and a bit of healthy competition between two viable wide options could prove key for Tottenham as the season goes on.

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