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Chelsea turn heat up on Nicolas Jackson as door opens for Pochettino dream deal

Chelsea turn heat up on Nicolas Jackson as door opens for Pochettino dream deal

Chelsea striker Nicolas Jackson may be facing a fight to keep his place just four months into his career at Stamford Bridge, as one of Mauricio Pochettino’s top targets could become available in January. Reports suggest the Blues are ready to dip into the market to sign another striker as doubts surface over Jackson’s ability to lead the line with Armando Broja, and Victor Osimhen’s current situation at Napoli is only likely to pile on the pressure.

Jackson arrived in west London in a £32million deal from Villarreal after shining in the second part of their season, scoring 12 goals in 20 games for the Yellow Submarines. The Senegalese forward had been tipped to follow in the footsteps of fellow African icons Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba by marking his stamp on Chelsea as their first-choice striker.

Despite enjoying a productive pre-season, the 22-year-old has struggled to transfer that form to the Premier League. His record of two goals in seven games only tells part of the story, with Jackson’s profligacy in front of goal costing his team valuable points in the early part of the season.

A shocking miss from Jackson in the 1-0 defeat against Nottingham Forest underlined Chelsea’s clear requirement to sign a lethal finisher. And Osimhen, who has fired 56 goals in 91 Serie A appearances for Napoli since signing from Lille in 2021, could be the man Pochettino brings in, which would almost certainly demote Jackson to a bench role.

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There is no doubting that Pochettino clearly believes in Jackson, with the Argentinian coach describing him as a player with ‘world-class’ potential after he scored in the 3-0 win over Luton earlier this season. But Chelsea need goals and results now, rather than the idea of a potential 20-goal-a-season striker in the future.

Earlier this summer, Osimhen had emerged on the radar of both Chelsea and Manchester United as both teams searched for a new goal-getter. But Napoli’s eye-watering £150m price tag was enough to scare them off, with Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis notorious for driving a hard bargain.

But reports in Italy state that Osimhen is unhappy with his situation in Italy and has stalled over signing a three-year contract extension with the Serie A champions. In September, Napoli were forced to apologise to the striker after their social media channel posted a video on TikTok appearing to mock their 24-year-old striker.

The Partenopei responded by sacking the staff member responsible for the posts, but the damage may be deemed as irreparable as far as Osimhen is concerned. Reports in Italy suggest that the player and his agent, Roberto Calenda, have not reacted well to De Laurentiis’ comments as the stand-off over his contract continues.

“I have never been unhappy with Osimhen,” De Laurentiis told reporters. “But there are always two people in these things; I have remained the same, if his mood has changed I can’t do anything about it.

“If after a handshake things change, it’s disappointing, but we take note of it and then life goes on. We have excellent relations with him, his contract expires in 2025, so there is time. Don’t forget that I sold [Kalidou] Koulibaly [to Chelsea] in his last year.”

De Laurentiis’ comments have suggested the door could be open for Osimhen to leave if he fails to agree terms on a new deal, and Pochettino would surely hold some interest given his side have scored only 11 goals in eight games so far. Comparatively, Brighton and Newcastle have already passed the 20-goal mark.

Jackson does at least have some time on his side, with Chelsea unable to register new signings until January even if they agreed a deal in advance. He is likely to start Saturday’s crunch clash against Arsenal after his recent return from suspension.

And with the shadow of Osimhen lurking behind him, Pochettino will be hoping it can spark him into life after a disappointing start to life in London.

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