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12 May, 2021 12:14

‘That’s not his strength’: Chelsea boss Tuchel trolls Arsenal ace Aubameyang’s timekeeping ahead of reunion with ex-Dortmund star

‘That’s not his strength’: Chelsea boss Tuchel trolls Arsenal ace Aubameyang’s timekeeping ahead of reunion with ex-Dortmund star

Ahead of Wednesday's reunion with Arsenal's former Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has trolled the Gunners skipper for his repeated timekeeping infractions in the Bundesliga.

Tuchel and Aubameyang overlapped during their respective spells with Dortmund in the German top division, with the Gabonese hitman leading the line for the team before he moved to London in a then club record deal of £56 million ($79 million / €65 million) in 2018.

Their two-year partnership saw Dortmund claim the DFB-Pokal in 2017, while Aubameyang also topped the league's goalscoring charts under Tuchel's guidance – but as prolific as the German says Aubameyang's spell with Dortmund was, Tuchel admitted that there were more than a few frustrations when it came to the striker's tardiness.

"That's not his strength, to be absolutely on time," Tuchel said said at a press conference at Stamford Bridge ahead of Wednesday's Premier League clash with their London rivals. 

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"He was pretty much the only one so when we wanted him to be on time, we just told him the meeting was 10.45am [when] the meeting was 11am. Then we had a good chance he is there with everybody else.

"I don't know and I still don't know how he managed to keep his driving licence, throughout the two years, in his pocket because from the sound of the car I don't know if he was always on the speed limit and he was always at the last minute.

"That's him. It is hard to be really mad at the guy because he comes with a big smile, he opens his heart, he gives his excuse to everybody and OK, we could accept to have one or two guys like this in a team.

"It is not the biggest problem. At the same time, don't forget he was a top, top professional. I don't think he missed any training session, he never sneaked off the training pitch one minute too early. The opposite. When he was dressed, he was ready. It was nice to have him."

If Tuchel was willing to give Aubameyang a pass for his timekeeping infractions, it seems as though his new boss Mikel Arteta isn't quite so keen, dropping him from Arsenal's starting lineup earlier this season for what was described as "a breach of pre-match protocols."

This has led to speculation that the relationship between Aubameyang and Arteta is a strained one – but it seems that there are no hard feelings when it comes to Tuchel and his former star striker.

"It was a pleasure to work with him: always a smile on his face, a very, very honest guy, bit of a crazy guy but a nice crazy," said Tuchel. "We still are in touch from time to time and exchange messages when one of us has a big win. He will still, in some way, always be my player.

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"You want them to succeed and have a good time wherever they are. This contact never fully stopped and it is nice to see him because he is always on for a hug and it is nice to hug and see him laugh.

"He is a winner. We won the cup together in Dortmund and I never had the feeling that he lacks the certain edge of mentality that you need when you want to win stuff.

"But, clearly, he cannot do it alone and he also needs a top squad to play in and to compete for the highest level.

"But I can just say my experiences with Auba for two years, you could push him to the limit and he was always up for the challenge."

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