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Glen Johnson on Aubameyang to Chelsea: “It’s good if you get the Aubameyang that wants to be there”

Glen Johnson believes Aubameyang could be a good signing for Chelsea.
Glen Johnson believes Aubameyang could be a good signing for Chelsea.

We are now in the last few days of the summer transfer window and many of the Premier League’s biggest clubs are still on the market for new additions. Glen Johnson has been speaking to BettingOdds.com to discuss the prospect of Chelsea signing former Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Glen also discusses Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat to Leeds United, Darwin Núñez’s temperament and Harry Maguire being linked with a move to Stamford Bridge. 

Chelsea were beaten 3-0 on Sunday away to Leeds United. Do you believe if Thomas Tuchel was to win nothing this season that he could potentially lose his job come the summer. Do you think they have a chance of recovering and competing for the Premier League title?

“It was obviously a heavy defeat and it’s shocked a few people but I think they’re going to have a gameplan under the new owners. I don’t think Tuchel’s seat will be as hot as it used to be. You’d like to think they’d give him a bit of time and start to build the club back up. However, it’s a big club and they should be winning things and challenging, so we’ve got to wait and see how much patience the new owners have got.

“I do believe the game against Leeds was just a blip and I did think that Chelsea looked good in the first two games and that the team has a lot of potential. There’s been a few shock results in the Premier League already. I just think it’s a blip, a little speedbump; a new team and a club that’s transforming.”

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is piquing the interest of Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, who worked with the former Arsenal captain at Borussia Dortmund. His professionalism came into question during his time at Arsenal, but he did score 68 goals in 128 Premier League games. So in your eyes, is this a good move?

“It’s good if you get the Aubameyang that wants to be there. If he wants to be there and he wants to play and represent the club, then yes, it would be a very good signing. If you’re getting the Aubameyang that was in his last six months at Arsenal then it wouldn’t be a good move for Chelsea. If he was to go to Chelsea then he probably would love the challenge and he’s shown in the past that he’s capable of getting a bundle of goals.”

 

Ivan Toney is reportedly another option Chelsea could move for. The 26-year-old is also linked with Manchester United and Everton. He’s started for Brentford brilliantly this season with four goal contributions in three matches. But do you think he’s good enough to lead the line for Chelsea?

“I’m not sure. He’s still got a bit to prove in my opinion. There’s a big step up from scoring goals in the Championship to scoring goals in the Premier League. There’s also then a step up from scoring goals in the Premier League to being Chelsea’s main man. From the bottom of the Premier League to the top represents a big gap. He’s good in front of goal, he’s technically good but I do think stepping up to Chelsea after one season in the Premier League is a bit too big a step at the moment.”

Anthony Gordon continues to be linked with a move to Chelsea. Considering the abundance of options Chelsea have in those positions, would it be a wise move for the player? And do you believe he warrants such a high price tag?

“He’s shown ability and he looks like he’s got potential but it would be a big step up. You don’t want to hinder his development by not playing him. Chelsea would be clearly buying him for the future, so they could potentially buy him and loan him back.”

Wesley Fofana has supposedly told Leicester City that he wants to leave the club for Chelsea this summer. Do Thiago Silva, Kalidou Koulibaly and Fofana make Chelsea’s defence potentially the strongest in the league?

 

“It does possibly make Chelsea’s defence the strongest in the Premier League on paper. You’d have experience and youth as well as three athletes, so you’d struggle to get better than that. Chelsea should have bought Fofana years ago. I’m surprised he’s been at Leicester this long  because a few years ago he was one of the best defenders around and he couldn’t even get in the French team. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. They could have got him for relatively cheap a few years ago but now they’re going to have to pay double now.”

 

Manchester United made a loan bid for Christian Pulisic. Would he go straight into United’s first XI? United more than likely will not be a threat to Chelsea this season, so can you seriously see them being open to loaning him out to Manchester United?

“Pulisic would probably go straight in Manchester United’s starting XI. United have signed so many of these sorts of players and they haven’t worked out. For me, they keep buying in positions that they don’t really need. They just need to get the players they’ve bought already firing. I like Pulisic a lot. He seems like a good lad, he’s got ability, he works hard for the team and I definitely believe he’d improve Manchester United’s team but I believe they’ve got bigger concerns elsewhere.

“Chelsea don’t need to sell or loan players to United do they? If Pulisic is available then he’s going to have a lot of options isn’t he? I don’t believe United would be his first choice. Clubs have to be tactical don’t they? Manchester United aren’t a threat to Chelsea but you don’t want to improve them as one day United are going to bounce back aren’t they?”

 

Harry Maguire is rumoured to play a part in any deal taking Pulisic to Old Trafford. Do you believe Harry Maguire could rectify his reputation playing in Chelsea’s back three? He’s excelled in a back three for England previously.

 

“I’m not so sure. I know he gets a lot of criticism but if it’s not working for him at Manchester United then why would it work for him at Chelsea? Chelsea’s a step up. I don’t think that deal would happen at all.

“Chelsea fans would have seen all of his performances for Manchester United so I don’t think they’d be excited about a potential move at all.”

 

Pulisic is also being linked with a move to Newcastle United, along with Conor Gallagher, Armando Broja and Callum Hudson-Odoi. If you were Thomas Tuchel, how many of those four players would you be looking to keep at the club?

 

“I’d keep Christian Pulisic, Conor Gallagher and Armando Broja. I’m a fan of Hudson-Odoi because, on his day, he’s fantastic but you don’t see those days often enough. He’s not too young anymore and he should be starting for Chelsea by now. As long as he’s got the desire to play then he can have a great career somewhere else. When he’s on it, he’s brilliant. I just believe that he needs to play every week and get back to his best. He shouldn’t just accept being at Chelsea on a good contract.”

 

Premier League odds

Marc Cucurella joined Chelsea for a world record fee for a left-back earlier in the window. Do you think he has the chance to kick on now and become the best left-back in the Premier League? Cucurella or Chilwell, who’re you going with?

“Obviously Cucurella’s got a big reputation. Chelsea wouldn’t spend that money willy-nilly. He must have shown them something. But I’m a big fan of Chilwell as well to be honest. So I don’t think Cucurella will get the slot given to him; he’ll have to work for his place.

“You do need strong bodies and robust players that can play every week. I’m sure the manager will rest him when he can but ultimately if you’ve got a player that’s never injured - touchwood, I don’t want to give him the kiss of death - instead of someone like Chilwell who’s just bouncing back, then, naturally, you’re going to go for the more robust player.”

 

Trevoh Chalobah is being courted by Aston Villa, Tottenham, Inter Milan and Juventus for a loan move. Do you believe a loan move to a big side in the Premier League or abroad will allow him to come back and fight for a starting berth at Chelsea?

 

“I definitely believe a loan move to a big side in the Premier League or abroad for Trevoh Chalobah will allow him to come back and fight for a starting berth at Chelsea. He’s put in some good performances for Chelsea. He’s not playing week in, week out but if he goes to a big club and potentially plays in the Champions League as well, that’s what the loan system is designed for; you can go away and have a fantastic year and come back and bang the door down. But it’s hard to do that in training sessions. The manager’s obviously got in his head his starting XI and whoever his next five or six players are, and if you’re not involved in that then it’s hard to break through just through training. But if Chalobah goes to a top team and performs in the Champions League then the manager can’t ignore him.”

Darwin Núñez was sensationally sent off on his Anfield debut against Crystal Palace. Considering the stupidity surrounding the red card, do you think Jurgen Klopp will be putting him straight back in the starting XI once his suspension is over? Do you think he will learn from his mistake or is he imbued with that red-hot Uruguayan temperament we’ve seen before?

 

“Knowing Jürgen Klopp, Núñez will be back in Liverpool’s starting XI once his suspension is over. Obviously his red card against Crystal Palace was a daft mistake, we all agree with that, but I just think that by leaving him out then you make it a bigger issue. Klopp’s a very good man-manager and to be honest I just think he’ll kick Núñez up the arse a bit and say ‘you were stupid, but let’s just forget about it and move on’. If he leaves him out then it just heightens the mistake and just drags it along.

“I think you would expect to see him in the line-up for the Merseyside derby, and that’ll be a sign that we all make mistakes, it is what it is, and we get on with it.

“He’s clearly a fiery character but you don’t want to take that away. You have to have that fire in your belly but you have to control it. If you’re playing against him and this is how he reacts, he’s only going to get it more. All the other defenders are going to do exactly the same. They’re going to try and upset him. And if he does something daft then all of a sudden they’ve won the battle. But as long as he can control it you don’t want to take it away from him.”

 

Considering that Liverpool have already dropped points twice this season, has this influenced who you believe will win the Premier League this season? Arsenal are the only team so far with a 100% record.

“Even though they’re looking great at the moment, I don’t think Arsenal have got the character to go the distance. It is very early at this stage. I don’t think they’ve got those characters within the team to win those dirty games when they’re not playing well and you’re going to have to do that to win the Premier League. So overall, I would still say that Manchester City are favourites.”

 

Spanish publication Marca are claiming that Real Madrid will look to reinvest the money earnt from the sale of Casemiro in Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham. Do you still think Liverpool will be Bellingham’s next move? Or do you think it could be La Liga?

 

“What I love about Jude is that he’s had the balls to Dortmund in the first place, so he’s clearly got the appetite to go wherever he needs to go. He’s not afraid to be abroad, which I admire.

“When you’ve got someone like Real Madrid knocking on your door, it’s hard to ignore. If he had the choice to go to Liverpool or Madrid, he’d probably pick Madrid. It’s a giant club. They’ve won the Champions League, they’re going to go deep in every competition. You can’t ever say it’s going to be a bad move but we all want to see him in the Premier League. We all know La Liga isn’t as strong as the Premier League. But it’s Real Madrid, and he’ll be going there because he wants to win the Champions League. I’m not saying he wouldn’t have that chance at Liverpool, but La Liga’s an easier league on his body, that’s for sure.”

 

Naby Keïta is reportedly wanted for transfer by his old side RB Leipzig. With current injuries, Liverpool are a bit light in the midfield at present and Keita isn’t for sale. However, he has one year left on his deal and do you believe it would be a good time for Liverpool to recoup some money from their £52 million investment?

 

“I think Liverpool have got to make a decision about Naby Keïta. As I’ve said before, it’s a ridiculous business letting players go out of the door for free. So I think you either need to sell him now, or agree another contract. You can’t run the risk that in six months time he can technically sign abroad for free. It doesn’t make any sense. You have to have a sit down chat with him. If he wants to stay, you give him another deal. If not, sell him now.

“His time in England could be considered a disappointment because although he’s got all those medals, which is great, he wasn’t one of the main cogs in the performing team. It’s like a sub-goalkeeper; they may get the Champions League medal but they’ve played no games! You’d rather be a big force in the team every week than just sit there and collect trophies.”

 

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard is under pressure after losing two of his first three Premier League games this season. Are you worried for him? Do you believe he has the capabilities to turn it round? Is he failing his audition to become the next Liverpool manager?

“I wouldn’t be worried, it’s early days. They performed well enough last season and I think there are about eight shocked clubs at the moment. I thought Villa were going to kick on. I didn’t see Arsenal doing what they’re doing, so I think there are a lot of surprises everywhere. 

“I still think Villa have got the right man for the job. It’s a club going in the right direction and you’re going to lose some games. Everyone wants to get off to a great start to the season, so everyone is flying and fighting for fitness, so I think it’s way too early to get worried.”

 

West Ham are linked with a move for Manchester United’s Scott McTominay after the Red Devils’ acquisition of Casemiro. Would you like to see him make the move to the London Stadium? Do you rate him as a Premier League midfielder? Newcastle are also linked with the player.

“I think he’s a decent enough player. I don’t think at the moment he’s world-class in terms of being in the top four or five clubs but West Ham need bodies. They’re going to go deep in a few tournaments this season so I think that would be a decent signing.”

Do you think West Ham have just started a bit slow out of the gates and can they turn their season around?

“Yes, I think they can. Again, with West Ham being another team that performed really well last year, I think we can always look into early results and get carried away. I think their philosophy is the same, they’ve signed a few players and their squad is better than it was last season.”

Today's Football Tips

In your opinion, which Premier League club has had the best transfer window so far and why?

“I’d say Chelsea have had the best. Kalidou Koulibaly looks brilliant; he’s going to help them out massively. Raheem Sterling is a great signing and they have big hopes for Marc Cucurella at left-back. I can’t think of anyone else that has signed three big players like that. 

I would have liked Rüdiger to stay. I think that was a bit of a mistake and he would have had a good partnership with Koulibaly. He’s probably the only player I would have kept from the players they’ve sold this summer, so overall I think they’ve done good business.”

Which two of the ‘Big Six’ are finishing outside the Champions League places next season in your opinion?

“I will go with Manchester United and Tottenham. Normally, I would have said Arsenal but they have been pretty solid to be honest.”

 

We’re in the final week or so of the transfer window. Now, if you were Manchester United, would you do everything possible to get rid of Cristiano Ronaldo?

 

“Yes, I think they should. There have been strong rumours of his departure and there’s no smoke without fire. I’m not saying he’s a bad apple but it isn’t working at the moment.


I don’t know if he’s causing problems because I’m not in the dressing room. If the rumours are true then it makes sense. The other players should be bigger and stronger and not allow one player to upset the whole dressing room. It’s probably got an element of truth in it, but it can’t all be true.”

Marcus Rashford has been linked with a sensational move to PSG recently. Do you think the move could benefit his progression and get his career back on track? Do you believe he’d be a success in France and at PSG?

I don’t see why he couldn’t be a success at PSG. As I say, you don’t lose your ability overnight and I’ve always been a big fan of Marcus. I don’t know if something is wrong upstairs or not but PSG are a good side, they’ll go deep in the Champions League, sometimes you have to take yourself out of your comfort zone. He’s from Manchester, he’s got his friends and family there and maybe there’s too many distractions. To take yourself away and concentrate on your career might be a good idea.”

Casemiro is a Manchester United player. Do you believe his presence can elevate this current United outfit? Or do you believe it could be another marquee signing that fails to live up to the billing? Do you believe the notion echoed by some pundits and ex-pros that he’s only joined United for the financial package offered to him.

“It’s a tough one because he’s a great player and he’s won everything there is to win. However, I just don’t think he’s the player they need at the moment. I don’t think he’s going to get a game by the scruff of the neck. He’s not box to box, he’s just going to sit there and that’s a luxury they aren’t good enough for at the moment. It’s okay for him to do that at Real Madrid when he’s got players flying all around him, breaking up the play and winning the ball back but I don’t know if that’s what United need. Obviously, he’s a good player and he’s going to bring great experience. It probably will be a signing that the other players would like to see, but he’s not going to fix that team on his own.

“Regarding the financial package being offered to him, there’s always going to be that element surrounding the move. He wouldn’t be going there otherwise to be honest, but that’s only one part of it. I don’t think it’s the only reason. The thing is, Manchester United have to pay big money because they’re not the most attractive club at the moment, and they haven’t been for a while, so they have to pay these players big amounts to get them to pick them over somebody else.”

 

Manchester United continue to push on in their pursuit of Ajax winger Antony. They reportedly are willing to only sell the Brazilian for €100 million, but if United cough up the money, do you believe that’s a ridiculous amount for a player without any Premier League experience and two years of Eredivisie experience under his belt

“It’s an awful lot of money and it’s another player in a position they don’t need. They’ve signed wingers for that sort of money two or three times and got it wrong. I don’t know how they pick these players to be honest. I don’t know what the pattern is or what the plan is but it’s almost like they just pick someone and then pay silly amounts. It’s not like they’ve got a system where they’ve got certain players that will fit their style of play, because no one knows their style of play. They just buy the next exciting winger, it doesn’t make sense.”

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