Brave Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could make his Chelsea debut in Zagreb on Tuesday just eight days after brutal robbers fractured his jaw.
The former Arsenal captain completed his £10m move from Barcelona to Stamford Bridge and immediately flew out to Italy to have a mask fitted by the same doctor who helped protect Antonio Rudiger’s eye socket last season.
The 33-year-old Gabon international then hopes to trial the mask in training at Cobham on Sunday before potentially joining the squad the next day to fly out for their Champions League group stage opener against Dinamo Zagreb.
“It depends a little bit on what the specialists say who create the mask for him and then how he adapts to the mask,” manager Thomas Tuchel explained. “So maybe it could be Tuesday – although maybe this is very soon … Maybe it’s Fulham, or maybe it is a week later.
Aubameyang was not the only deadline-day arrival at Stamford Bridge, with Denis Zakaria also joining on a loan deal from Juventus.
Zakaria, like Aubameyang, won’t be available to make his debut at the weekend against West Ham as Tuchel confirmed they still have to ‘work on a work permit’ but are hopeful he could also feature on Tuesday.