Montpellier are expecting multiple offers for young striker Elye Wahi and have informed Chelsea that their opening bid is nowhere near his valuation.
The Blues are now on the hunt for new talent having jettisoned a number of stars since the end of last season. The west Londoners needed to raise funds to balance the books and, having received in the region of £220m, they are now recruiting. Mauricio Pochettino has already brought in the likes of Christopher Nkunku, Axel Disasi and Nicolas Jackson.
But the Argentinian tactician feels he needs more firepower before the start of 2023-2024. The latest target is a 20-year-old forward who is highly rated in the French top flight.
Having spent two years in the Montpellier youth team, Wahi then made just 11 appearances for the club’s B team before being handed his senior debut.
The France Under-21 star was just 17 when he played the last four minutes of a 2-0 Ligue 1 defeat to Metz in December 2020.
He was seen 18 times during that campaign, notching three goals while he started 21 games the following season, scoring ten times.
The Courcouronnes-born ace upped his level last term, scoring 19 goals from 33 appearances. He also registered five assists and it is no wonder that many clubs have eyes on him.
Chelsea are said to have made a verbal offer of £21.4m for the starlet last week.
Wahi not short of suitors
The Stamford Bridge hierarchy were politely informed that their offer was not enough for the exciting talent.
Club president Laurent Nicollin is now waiting for new bids and explained why Chelsea’s opening gambit had been immediately knocked back.
“For now, there isn’t anything new. There are offers, but we expect more offers for Wahi,” he told RMC Sport.
“It is true that we’ve had just one official offer up to now, from Chelsea, which came last Monday or Tuesday.
“We responded by saying thank you but said that it wasn’t an offer that suits us, so we’re waiting.
“We have a player that played three full seasons, who has scored more than 30 or 40 goals and who has enormous attacking potential.”
Wahi is clearly a player with a huge future. Atletico Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt are also known admirers of the forward.
And it may be that other clubs show their hand as the transfer window progresses.
Whoever ends up with the Frenchman on their books will be getting a versatile player.
He can operate as a lone striker or anywhere across the front line, with some pretty impressive statistics to his name already.
Wahi has joined Kylian Mbappe as the only other teenager to have scored 20 goals in France’s top division.
And he became the joint-youngest star alongside Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele to score 10 goals in Ligue 1, according to football.london.
Nicollin reveals Wahi value
With an impressive strike rate at such a young age, it is no wonder that clubs are queuing up for his signature.
He is under contract at Stade de la Mosson until the summer of 2025.
And Nicollin is refusing to be bullied into selling the club’s prized asset for less than the figure they feel he is worth.
“We’re just Montpellier, we’re maybe not valued like Lyon or Rennes,” he added.
“You won’t take my head off if I say that if Elye Wahi was a centre-forward at Lyon or Marseille, he’d be worth 50 to 60million (euros).”
Whether or not they get that much for such a young player only time will tell.
But Chelsea are now under no illusions as to what they must pay to land the prolific striker.