Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea are lining up an ambitious move for Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, with Mauricio Pochettino keen to bring in a striker when he takes over as head coach this summer.
Mauricio Pochettino is flying to London this week to sign a three-year deal and will have funds to strengthen his squad. Chelsea want a goalkeeper, additions in central midfield, and a potent No 9. They have toiled in the final third this season and have not had a clinical striker since selling Diego Costa in 2017.
Chelsea, who are fighting a losing battle to keep Mason Mount, have had Osimhen on their radar for a while. The Nigeria striker has been crucial to Napoli romping to the Serie A title this season, scoring 23 goals in 29 league games. Osimhen has done well against Chelsea in the past, scoring against them in the Champions League for Lille in 2019.
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However, it will not be easy to get the 24-year-old out of Napoli, who are likely to demand a huge fee. Napoli will want to make a strong title defence and hope to challenge in the Champions League after reaching the quarter-finals this season.
Chelsea need to sell themselves to potential targets given that they will not be playing in Europe. They will face competition from Bayern Munich for Osimhen. Manchester United are interested but their top priority remains Tottenham’s Harry Kane.
There could be concerns over whether Osimhen will adapt to English football. Chelsea will also need to work out what to do with Romelu Lukaku when the striker returns from his loan at Internazionale. It is unclear whether Lukaku, who will be handed a chance by Mauricio Pochettino, will be loaned back to Inter. Chelsea will also need to move Pierre‑Emerick Aubameyang.
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Chelsea have several attacking midfielders and wide players but lack a focal point. Others on their shortlist include Inter’s Lautaro Martínez and Brentford’s Ivan Toney. However Toney could be hit with a lengthy ban by the Football Association after accepting multiple charges of breaching its betting rules.
In the search for a goalkeeper Chelsea regard Aston Villa’s Emi Martínez, Brentford’s David Raya and Inter’s André Onana as possible replacements for Édouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Brighton midfielders Alexis Mac Allister and Moisés Caicedo were targeted by Chelsea in January. Arsenal and United are leading the race to sign West Ham’s Declan Rice.
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Chelsea’s incomings are likely to be relatively restrained, with a bigger focus on players leaving. The club have a bloated squad after spending wildly in the previous two transfer windows and are under pressure to raise funds because of concerns over financial fair play rules.
There is a growing expectation that Mount, one of the best players to emerge from Chelsea’s academy, will depart because of uncertainty over his contract. The midfielder’s deal expires next year and there is still no sign he will agree an extension.
Liverpool are favourites to sign Mount, who is also wanted by United. There has been speculation that Mauricio Pochettino could convince the England international to stay but Chelsea are not optimistic of keeping the 24-year-old.
Mateo Kovacic, whose deal expires next year, is in a similar position to Mount. The Croatia midfielder is wanted by Manchester City, Manchester United and Bayern.