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Chelsea 'make slow progress' in talks for £113m-rated Serie A striker

Lukaku could hold the key as Chelsea make 'slow progress' in £113m deal
© Reuters
Chelsea are reportedly still working to a close a deal to sign Napoli striker Victor Osimhen despite claims that Enzo Maresca does not see him as a fit for the club.

Chelsea are supposedly still working to close a deal for Napoli striker Victor Osimhen despite claims that they had moved on to alternative attacking options.

The former Lille striker is confirmed to be on the way out by Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis, despite successfully tying him down to a new contract until the summer of 2026 last year.

Osimhen's deal is thought to contain a release clause of around £113m, though, and Napoli will be powerless if an interested party triggers that option in the coming weeks.

Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Arsenal have been considered the leading contenders to sign the Nigeria international, although the Gunners will certainly not shell out a nine-figure sum to acquire his services.

Meanwhile, a recent report claimed that new Blues boss Enzo Maresca did not view Osimhen as an ideal fit for his system, instead seeking a striker who can drop deep and link play rather than an out-and-out target man.

Napoli forward Victor Osimhen on December 3, 2023© Reuters

Lukaku and Osimhen to move in opposite directions?

Concerns over breaching Profit and Sustainability rules could also hinder Chelsea's ability to sign Osimhen, who has been tipped to fill the boots of Real Madrid-bound Kylian Mbappe at PSG.

However, CaughtOffside claims that Chelsea have not given up on trying to lure the 25-year-old to Stamford Bridge and are making 'slow progress' in their attempts to win the heated race.

While PSG's interest in Osimhen is well-documented, the Ligue 1 champions are apparently yet to lodge an offer for the striker, but it remains to be seen if Napoli relent on their £113m demands.

The Blues may have an ace up their sleeve, though, as Napoli - now under the wing of Antonio Conte - are supposedly keen on bringing Romelu Lukaku to the club as a replacement for Osimhen.

The Belgium international excelled at Inter Milan with Conte at the helm but has failed to replicate his form in his second spell at Chelsea, who are desperate to offload him for good this summer.

Napoli's Victor Osimhen celebrates scoring their first goal on February 21, 2024© Reuters

Despite forking out a whopping £97.5m to re-sign Lukaku, Chelsea could let the ex-Manchester United man depart for a cut-price £37m in the summer window, having accepted that they will be taking a huge financial hit.

Should the Lukaku move be a non-starter, though, Napoli apparently have a couple of other replacements in mind, including Girona's Artem Dovbyk and Feyenoord's Santiago Gimenez.

What other strikers are Chelsea targeting?

Dovbyk is one of a handful of strikers to have also been linked with a move to Chelsea, who have apparently failed with an opening bid of £33.8m for Atletico Madrid 20-year-old Samu Omorodion.

Keeping with the theme of targeting youthful La Liga players, contact has supposedly been made over a move for Barcelona teenager Marc Guiu, while RB Leipzig's Lois Openda is also of interest.

Elsewhere, the Blues are said to be on the verge of signing a teenage Aston Villa starlet, but they have lost out to Bayern Munich in the race to sign Crystal Palace's Michael Olise.

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