Premier League • England

Chelsea set to activate nine-figure release clause to sign best solution to their biggest problem

In demand Napoli duo Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

In demand Napoli duo Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia

Expectations are growing in Italy that Chelsea will activate the release clause of Napoli centre-forward Victor Osimhen.

A world-class centre-forward is at the top of Chelsea’s wish list after years of struggles to settle on a reliable source of regular goals.

There aren’t many better in circulation than Osimhen, who helped fire Napoli to a rare Serie A title last season and has been in high demand for a while.

The Nigeria international recently revealed he already knows what his next step away from Napoli will be (most likely in the summer).

Now, La Gazzetta Dello Sport has highlighted how likely Chelsea are to bid for him in the summer.

According to the Italian sports paper, Chelsea will pay the €130m required to put the decision in Osimhen’s hands this summer.

If Napoli do receive a bid in that region of £111m, it will be up to Osimhen to decide his own fate.

And in an attempt to convince the 25-year-old that they should be his next club, Chelsea are willing to shower him ‘with gold’, in the report’s words.

The prospect of a huge salary could be enticing, especially when it would be reflective of the key role Chelsea would have available for Osimhen.

Currently, Chelsea’s only centre-forwards are Nicolas Jackson (who is away at the Africa Cup of Nations) and Armando Broja (who, as TEAMtalk has explained, will be available to leave the club this month).

Can Osimhen end long-lasting Chelsea crisis?

In recent years, players like Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku have come and gone, failing to replicate their form from previous clubs.

There is little doubt that Osimhen would be an upgrade on Jackson and Broja if he can successfully translate his form into the Premier League.

You never know with strikers at Chelsea, but in theory, the former Lille frontman seems to be the most suitable candidate to resolve their issues up front.

He would only be likely to join Chelsea in the summer, rather than this month (when they are prioritising defensive reinforcements instead), so will be hoping to finish his fourth Napoli season on a high.

In reality, it is unlikely to culminate in anything as joyous as what they experienced last season, in what was a stark contrast to Chelsea’s own fortunes.

Having just got Chelsea into the Carabao Cup final, Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping he is guiding the club in the right direction again. Adding a prolific striker into the mix may only enhance their progress.

Osimhen fits the bill thanks to his 67 goals from 119 games for Napoli, who signed him in 2020 after his 18 goals in 38 appearances for Lille.

Napoli extended his contract until 2026 back in December as a long-awaited reward for his role in their Scudetto success, but the caveat is that it includes the €130m exit clause that makes them vulnerable to his departure.

Chelsea have not been afraid to meet big release clauses in recent transfer windows – Enzo Fernandez being one example from this time last year – and so Napoli could be bracing themselves for Osimhen’s departure in the next transfer window.

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