Premier League • England

Chelsea in ‘advanced talks’ to sign deadly striker Man Utd couldn’t afford, with timely U-turn to spare Potter’s blushes

France strikers Marcus Thuram and Karim Benzema

A Man Utd and Arsenal-linked striker who’s notched 13 in 17 this season is in ‘advanced talks’ over joining Chelsea after a ‘tempting offer’ was submitted, per a report.

All three clubs were searching for reinforcements at the centre-forward position when the January transfer window opened its doors.

Table-toppers Arsenal were dealt a bitter blow when Gabriel Jesus suffered a medial ligament injury while playing for Brazil at the World Cup.

Man Utd needed a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo following the mutual termination of his deal. A severely restricted budget forced the Red Devils to pursue loan deals instead of signing any strikers outright.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have been blunt in the final third all season and Graham Potter is yet to settle on the best candidate to lead his line.

Joao Felix arrived on a six-month loan from Atletico Madrid and was quickly thrust into the spotlight against Fulham.

The Portuguese was arguably Chelsea’s best player on the night, though ruined his debut when seeing red for a reckless lunge.

Felix will now serve a three-match ban that’ll see him sidelined for around 15 percent of the club’s remaining EPL matches.

As such, Chelsea’s need for yet another striker has heightened, and according to Gianluca Di Marzio’s website, a move foe Marcus Thuram is taking shape.

Chelsea lodge ‘tempting offer’; Man Utd, Arsenal marginalised

The 25-year-old France international has been in fine form this season since abandoning his customary role on the wing and playing centrally.

He’s bagged 13 in 17 for Borussia Monchengladbach and has provided four assists too. Those sorts of numbers would normally prompt talk of a blockbuster fee, but his contract status means Chelsea can complete a coup for a veritable bargain.

Indeed, it’s been widely claimed Gladbach will cash in if around €10m (approx. £8.8m) is bid. That’s purely because Thuram is out of contract at season’s end and the current window represents Gladbach’s last chance to cash in.

The report noted Thuram is in ‘advanced talks’ over a switch to Stamford Bridge. That comes after Thuram – the son of legendary French defender Lilian Thuram – performed a U-turn on his future.

It had been expected Thuram would opt to see out his Gladbach contract as they chase European qualification.

He’s also a genuine contender to scoop the award for being the Bundesliga’s top scorer if he sees out the season. Only RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku – who will join Chelsea in the summer – has scored more league goals this term.

However, the article reckons Thuram has had a ‘change of mind’ after Chelsea submitted a ‘tempting offer’. The size of the apparent bid isn’t stated.

A move for Thuram would be a timely one for Chelsea, not least because of Felix’s imminent three-game ban.

Furthermore, another disappointing result in the 2-1 defeat to Fulham on Thursday night has given Chelsea an even bigger mountain to climb in their quest for top four.

Arteta, Ten Hag attentions elsewhere

Thuram had been linked with Man Utd in the run-up to the winter window. However, like with Cody Gakpo, Erik ten Hag’s side never tabled any official offers due to their severely restricted budget.

Instead, Wout Weghorst is the man they’ve chosen to back up Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. The Dtuch international will cost just a £2.5m loan fee and tie United over until they pursue higher profile strikers in the summer.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have benefitted from Eddie Nketiah stepping up when required.

Nketiah has bagged four in four in Jesus’ absence since the World Cup. Di Marzio’s article reported ‘other London clubs’ had shown interest in Thuram, presumably referring to Arsenal.

However, Nketiah has lessened the need for a new striker and the Gunners’ sole focus now seems to be signing Ukraine winger, Mykhaylo Mudryk.

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