Former Arsenal forward Paul Merson thinks new Chelsea striker Nicolas Jackson can have a big impact at Stamford Bridge this season.
The 22-year-old completed a £32m transfer from Villarreal last month, signing an eight-year contract with the Blues.
Jackson is expected to play a big role under Mauricio Pochettino. The manager will be desperate to see his team score more goals than they did last season when they netted just 38 times. That was ultimately a key reason why they finished in a dismal 12th position in the Premier League table.
The Senegal international has already impressed in pre-season for Chelsea. He scored twice and provided three assists in the friendlies against Wrexham, Brighton and Newcastle.
Last season, Jackson scored 12 goals in 26 LaLiga appearances for Villarreal, along with making four assists. This gives him an average of 0.62 goal contributions per game.
A versatile player, Jackson has the ability to play as a centre-forward or as a winger on either flank. Although, based off his pre-season performances, it seems likely he will be leading the line for Chelsea this season.
Merson tips Jackson to succeed at Chelsea
Now, Merson has backed Jackson to succeed in the Premier League, as he looks to build on his excellent 2022/23 campaign with Villarreal.
Speaking to Sportskeeda, Merson said: “Nicolas Jackson looks like a great player.
“He’s very lively and direct, and he doesn’t mess about. He can score a goal and make a goal as well.
“He’s linked up very well with (Mykhaylo) Mudryk so far, and both of them have been very impressive in pre-season. I’ve been very surprised with Jackson so far.
“I know it’s only pre-season, but what I’ve seen has been ample. He’s a handful, and I’d definitely say that he’s going to surprise people this season.”
Chelsea’s current striker options consist of Jackson, fellow summer signing Christopher Nkunku and Armando Broja, who was ruled out of the majority of last season with a serious knee injury.
Pochettino will hope that Merson is spot on with his assessment of Jackson, and that his team as a whole can start scoring a lot more goals than they did in the previous campaign.
After all, that is essential if Chelsea want to once again solidify their spot at the top of the Premier League table.