Chelsea strong contenders for Osimhen in Man United transfer battle

The 24-year-old is aware of interest from the Blues, who regard him as a primary target as they pursue another physical forward.

They believe the Nigeria international, who has scored 25 goals in 29 games this season, would allow them to compete with the firepower of Manchester City’s goal machine Erling Haaland.

Chelsea’s need is driven by a dismal season in front of goal. They have scored just 29 Premier League goals, more than only seven clubs in the division who all find themselves in a relegation battle. Kai Havertz is the club’s top scorer with nine goals in 36 matches across all competitions.

Manchester United are also interested in Osimhen. They sounded out Osimhen at Lille, before he joined Napoli, but are also keen on Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who has just 16 months to run on his current contract.

Chelsea’s next no9? The Blues are very interested in signing Napoli striker Victor Osimhen

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Chelsea may have a small emotive edge in that Osimhen grew up idolising Blues legend Didier Drogba and was pictured in the club’s shirt while growing up in Lagos.

The biggest challenge for both clubs is dealing with Napoli, who are notoriously difficult negotiators and are thought to be asking for a fee in the region of €100million (£88m) to €150m (£132m). Napoli’s model relies on selling at least one star every season.

Osimhen could stretch Chelsea’s finances after they announced a £121m loss this week, which they attributed to Government sanctions on previous owner Roman Abramovich last season.

They are on UEFA’s financial watchlist but insist they remain compliant with regulations and will not be deterred from entering the market for a striker, defensive midfielder and goalkeeper.

However, sources in west London admit player sales will be key to the summer business. Boss Graham Potter has a bloated 32-man squad and needs his group reduced to a more manageable size for next season.

Mason Mount will be sold should he not extend his contract. He has 16 months left to run but talks have not been successful so far, while Mateo Kovacic, who has the same time left on his deal, has not started negotiations.

Conor Gallagher, Trevoh Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi could be sold, while Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Edouard Mendy and Romelu Lukaku are expected to be available.

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