Chelsea boss Graham Potter says Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s flashy luxury cars are a mismatch for his misunderstood personality.
Sunday’s clash will be the first time the Blues striker has faced Arsenal since leaving the Gunners by mutual consent in February, when Aubameyang blamed his fraught relationship with manager Mikel Arteta as the primary reason he parted ways with the club he once captained.
But Potter was adamant that despite what some might assume about the former Gabon skipper, who is thought to have spent millions on luxury rides including Lamborghinis and Ferraris, Aubameyang is perfectly down-to-earth.
“Everybody’s different,” said Potter, who is fine with his forward flashing the cash. “Just because you drive a fast car doesn’t necessarily tell you too much about your personality or character. You just might like cars.
“It’s not something that’s ever bothered me, to be honest. But everyone’s different, like I said. I speak as I find him, (and) he’s been really good. Whatever the preconceived idea of him was, it wasn’t that.”
Aubameyang and Potter could be seen as polar opposites. The striker, who in September signed for Chelsea on a two-year deal, is known to show off his lavish lifestyle on social media.
Former Brighton boss Potter, meanwhile, recently attributed his so-called, headline-sparking “glow-up” to a haircut by a barber favoured by his players that, he joked, “cost a lot more than I thought it was going to”.
But Potter, who assumed the Blues’ manager’s chair following Thomas Tuchel’s departure in mid-September, was quick to point out the two men had more in common than many might initially think.
“He’s a quiet guy,” said Potter. “Maybe the outside thinks he’s this really loud, flashy person. That’s not who he is. We found him really quiet, really humble. A nice person, wants to support the team.
“He’s been really respectful all the time. Yeah, his taste in cars is a bit different to mine, and his taste in clothing is a little bit different to mine, but I’d like to think we’ve got some select similarities as well.
“He’s got kids, he’s a family man, he wants to enjoy his football, he wants to be happy, he wants to be supported, wants to be part of the team. I find him really nice to work with.”
Asked if Aubameyang had ever been tardy to training, Potter joked: “You can’t be late with driving those cars.”
Potter, who faced his own awkward reunion when he watched his side fall 4-1 to the Seagulls in their last Premier League outing, was not sure what kind of reception Aubameyang might receive from the away fans on Sunday.
The 33-year-old has scored three goals for Chelsea across the Premier and Champions Leagues so far this season, a number his new boss attributed to collective club challenges, including a jam-packed fixture list leading to a lack of consistency in his squad.
Potter also reminded critics that Aubameyang arrived at Chelsea a month after the violent robbery at his Spanish home that left him with an injured jaw.
“It’s like anything,” he added. “I think my job is to support him, to understand his quality and what he likes to do as a footballer, and them to try and put him in those positions as often as possible. Simple as that, really.
“We’ve had discussions about lots of things. He’s obviously had a traumatic summer, so you know, we’ve talked about that.
“But at the end it’s just how his role is within the team and whether he feels comfortable doing it.”