Lautaro Martinez is one of Europe’s hottest goalscorers right now and the Inter Milan hitman would have joined Chelsea last summer, TEAMtalk can reveal.
The Blues have spent over £1billion on signings since their change of ownership in 2022 but that drastic overhaul has failed to sort out their problems in front of goal.
A number of additional transfer considerations went into the last window, including Inter’s World Cup winner Lautaro, yet Chelsea brought in Nicolas Jackson from Villarreal and decided to stick with him and Armando Broja as their two leading men.
The gamble has not paid off; ahead of their match against Fulham on Monday night, Chelsea are averaging less than a goal a game in the Premier League – only newly-promoted Burnley have scored fewer – and plan to go back to market for a premium forward in January with Ivan Toney among a list of four possible options.
It can be revealed that in the summer a deal for Martinez, who is the leading scorer in Serie A and netted all the goals in a 4-0 win over Salernitana at the weekend, could have been done.
Sources have confirmed that 26-year-old Lautaro has always wanted to play in the Premier League and the chance to join up with fellow Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino was one of the very few options that could have lured him away from Champions League finalists Inter.
He wanted to link up with Pochettino in west London but Chelsea never followed up their initial interest. Indications from well placed insiders suggest that they determined he was not the style of striker they were looking for.
Since then he has scored nine times in Serie A with a predatory instinct that would have served him and Chelsea very well in the English top flight.
Chelsea chances of signing Lautaro Martinez slipping away
And while it is understood his admiration of Pochettino and the Premier League remains, the chance for the Blues to sign him is slipping away.
Martinez’s early season success has led him into talks to sign a new contract at San Siro and while that agreement is not yet concluded, it is going to take a big intervention to stop it from going through.
To that end, his agent has already spoken out over how settled the player is at San Siro.
Now the chance of signing one of the leading marksmen in Europe is very close to passing Chelsea by unless an approach is made in the coming weeks to try and turn his head.
And there has been no sign of that yet.
Chelsea continue to track the market with options like Toney at Brentford obviously in sight and they also have an eye on how Victor Osminhen’s uncertain situation at Napoli unfolds.