Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang flies to Milan after Chelsea ruled him out of the Champions League

Chelsea’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang reacts after Arsenal’s Gabriel scored his first goal – – Hannah Mckay/Reuters

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang apparently flew straight to Milan after being shocked and disappointed by Chelsea’s decision to drop him from their Champions League squad just five months after joining the club.

Aubameyang’s future at Chelsea is now in doubt and sources close to the player are convinced the club want to get rid of him.

Head coach Graham Potter also left Aubameyang out of his squad for Chelsea’s goalless Premier League draw against Fulham, during which a picture of the 33-year-old in Milan with his family surfaced on social media.

The belief surrounding Aubameyang that Chelsea no longer want him will have been heightened by the fact that he was not even mentioned in the Blues’ Champions League team announcement on their official website, despite Potter insisting that that the door is still open for the former Arsenal captain.

“It was my decision and I can understand being disappointed because it’s a tough decision,” Potter said. “He hasn’t done anything wrong at all, but someone had to get lost and it’s nothing wrong against him and he hasn’t done anything wrong at all.”

Asked if Aubameyang had permission to fly to Milan, Potter added: “He trained very well this morning (Friday) and he has the weekend off. It’s a free world.”

Asked if Aubameyang could still play for him this season, Potter said: “Yes, absolutely. He has to train like he did today and be ready to play because football changes quickly, that’s the nature of the game.”

Chelsea confirmed that new signings Enzo Fernández, Mykhaylo Mudryk and on loan Joao Félix have been added to their Champions League squad for the round of 16 of the competition.

Having spent nearly £300m on eight players in January, Chelsea were only able to register three of their new Champions League signings, which meant £35m defender Benoit Badiashile and winger Noni Madueke, who was signed for £29m, had to be left out.

Mudryk and Fernández made their home debuts against Fulham on Friday night, but Mudryk was replaced by Madueke at half-time.

“Mudryk had a bad cold all week,” Potter said. “We knew he could only play a maximum of 60 minutes, but we thought 45 was the right thing to do. Enzo handled himself magnificently.”

Signing up Fernández, Mudryk and Félix left the club with the need to release one of their players after Hakim Ziyech’s transfer deadline to Paris Saint-Germain missed.

Chelsea FC's Mykhaylo Mudryk in action during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Fulham FC - Robin Jones/Getty Images

Chelsea FC’s Mykhaylo Mudryk in action during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Fulham FC – Robin Jones/Getty Images

However, rather than leave Ziyech out of his 25-man Champions League shortlist, Potter decided to ditch Aubameyang and explained his decision in person to the striker on Thursday.

Aubameyang was signed by Chelsea from Barcelona for around £12m, while former head coach Thomas Tuchel, who is a big fan of the former Arsenal player, was still in charge.

But Tuchel was sacked just a week later and the Chelsea owners even contacted Aubameyang to assure him that the decision would not affect their future or their commitment to him.

Having started well for Potter, scoring in successive games against Crystal Palace and AC Milan in the Champions League home and away, Aubameyang has not scored since October and lost his starting job.

Christian Pulisic is injured and is not expected to be fit for any of Chelsea’s last 16 games against Borussia Dortmund, with the club traveling to Germany on February 15 and hosting Dortmund on March 7. N’Golo Kante has been injured since August and is not expected to return until March.

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