Chelsea to spend big on Victor Osimhen, bring Romelu Lukaku back or sign Ivan Toney in January 2024? Glen Johnson casts an eye over No.9 poser

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Chelsea have struggled for goals this season, leading to plenty of transfer speculation, with Glen Johnson discussing their No.9 poser with GOAL

The Blues have continued to invest heavily on fresh faces, with £600 million ($741m) splashed out across the last two windows, but they still find themselves short of a reliable goalscorer.

Romelu Lukaku was - a year on from being brought back to west London for £98m ($121m) – allowed to join Inter on loan last summer, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has found the target just three times as he slowly slips out of sight and mind.

Chelsea are now being heavily linked with the likes of Napoli sensation Victor Osimhen and Juventus frontman Dusan Vlahovic – while a deal for RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku is said to be in the pipeline – and Johnson has cast an eye over all things striker-related at Stamford Bridge.

  1. Transfer targets

    Transfer targets

    Quizzed by GOAL on whether Chelsea will spend big on another No.9 this summer, former Blues full-back Johnson – speaking in association with Lord Ping – said: “The question is, who? I think they will do whatever they can to get a proper striker in, but who and for how much? Everyone wants a top striker. If someone is scoring goals, they are going to cost money. Chelsea aren’t embarrassed about selling someone for 20m and buying them back for 80m, they are not shy of that, but I think they will be cautious on this one knowing that they spent 100m on a striker that really didn’t work. I think they will be reluctant to do that again.”

  2. Tough choices

    Tough choices

    Johnson added, with it put to him that France international Nkunku is – despite his impressive return of 67 goals in 170 games for Leipzig – not an out-and-out No.9: “It’s not as easy as just spending money on a striker that is scoring goals in a different league. I would rather Chelsea sign a proven goalscorer in the Premier League, that might not have the sexiest name in terms of being one of the world’s best, but they know the league and can score goals. If you put them in a proper team, and Chelsea are a good team, and put them with better players, getting more opportunities, then they will score more goals. I would rather they spend 30 or 40 on a striker that has scored goals in the Premier League.”

  3. Proven in the Prem
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    Proven in the Prem

    Pressed on whether Brentford striker Ivan Toney would have been the ideal choice for Chelsea prior to being stung with an eight-month ban for breaches of FA betting rules – with the England international breaking through the 20-goal barrier this season – Johnson said: “Someone like that - can score goals, is physically capable in the Premier League, he’s not going to cost 100m, so he’s worth a punt. But they will have to sign him in nine months time!”

  4. Rom return
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    Rom return

    Chelsea do still have the option of absorbing Lukaku back into their ranks, as he remains under contract with them until 2026, with Johnson saying when asked if the burly Belgian has any future at Stamford Bridge: “I think he has got a big few months. Pre-season is important. If he goes back there, has a good pre-season, hits the ground running, gets fit, then of course he’s a striker that can score goals. It hasn't worked, at all, at Chelsea. But if he has a good pre-season, wins a few people over, gets the respect of his team-mates, then definitely he could have a massive role. But the way it’s going at the moment, it’s kind of over. I just think he needs a big pre-season.”

  5. Costly error
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    Costly error

    An extended stay with Inter has been speculated on for Lukaku, with Chelsea in the process of writing off £98m in a series of loan deals. Johnson said when pressed on whether the former Everton and Manchester United striker’s fee makes it worth the slate being wiped clean again: “It’s a lot of money. Everyone wants a goal scoring striker. He has the attributes to suit the Premier League for sure, but for whatever reason it hasn’t worked. If it is a 20m signing, everyone writes him off, you sell him for 15 and move on. But you are talking about 100m, it’s a lot of money. I think he has got a lot to prove, but he has also got a lot to give. My gut tells me it’s not at Chelsea. He suits the European leagues where you can rag doll a few defenders. I think the Premier League is too quick for him.”