Premier League • England

Mauricio Pochettino identifies perfect striker to kickstart Chelsea ascent, with new boss to shockingly reject Victor Osimhen

Mauricio Pochettino managing Paris Saint-Germain

Mauricio Pochettino has decided on which striker he wants to lead the Chelsea attack next season in the event of him being announced as the club’s new head coach, according to a report.

Chelsea were heavily linked with former Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann after sacking Graham Potter. But on Friday, Nagelsmann ruled himself out of the race. After holding several rounds of talks with the Chelsea hierarchy, the two parties had failed to agree on several crucial points.

This decision put Pochettino in the driving seat to replace interim boss Frank Lampard on a long-term basis. On Tuesday, it emerged that Chelsea had reached an agreement with Pochettino. It seems it is only a matter of time before they announce him as their next head coach, starting in the summer.

While the former Tottenham boss will not arrive at Stamford Bridge for a few months, he is already drawing up initial plans to make Chelsea top-four contenders once again.

TEAMtalk understands Pochettino is interested in reuniting with Paris Saint-Germain right-back Achraf Hakimi. PSG are planning a squad rebuild ahead of next season and Hakimi is one of the players likely to be put up for sale.

Pochettino has also made a big decision on Chelsea’s striker situation, according to The Telegraph. They reveal that he is willing to hand Romelu Lukaku a ‘lifeline’ by giving the Belgian opportunities at the start of the 2023-24 campaign.

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Lukaku, who is back at Inter Milan on loan, made it clear he did not want to return to Chelsea while Thomas Tuchel was in charge. But a lot has changed since then, with Inter deciding against signing him permanently after a difficult season in Italy.

And Pochettino has told Chelsea officials of his intention to bring Lukaku back into the fold. When the attacker returns from his loan spell, he will then have to decide whether he wants to take Pochettino up on this offer or push for a permanent exit anyway.

Pochettino goes for Lukaku over Osimhen

Chelsea have been heavily linked with Napoli striker Victor Osimhen. But after spending £600million in the last two transfer windows, they may struggle to spend the necessary £132m on Osimhen without breaking Financial Fair Play regulations.

Pochettino will be well aware of these issues. Instead of going after a new striker, he thinks Lukaku has all the attributes and experience needed to lead his forward line and get Chelsea back to where they should be in the Premier League.

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The report also provides some insight on Chelsea’s wider transfer plans. The ‘priority’ is to cut the squad down with several player sales. Conor Gallagher, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Christian Pulisic and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are just some of the stars who could be moved on.

Chelsea have not ruled out signing some big names if their primary targets become available. However, only a few new players will join this summer, rather than the huge amount of new arrivals Chelsea fans have become used to.

Meanwhile, there has been a big update on Mason Mount’s future amid Liverpool and Arsenal vying for his services.