Premier League • England

Osimhen, Palhinha head Pochettino’s January wish list as Chelsea target new spine

Victor Osimhen and Joao Palhinha

Victor Osimhen and Joao Palhinha have been heavily linked with moves to Chelsea.

Napoli forward Victor Osimhen is a key target for Chelsea in January while Joao Palhinha’s representatives have sounded out the Blues over a deal as Mauricio Pochettino aims to build a new spine for his team, TEAMtalk can exclusively reveal.

Chelsea are again set to be one of the most active clubs in the upcoming transfer window as Pochettino pushes for improvements to his struggling side.

The Argentinian wants a whole new spine for his team with reinforcements in every area of the squad on his wish list.

The coach has major concerns over the current quality and options at his disposal, with TEAMtalk reporting on Monday that Pochettino is set to axe seven Chelsea stars – worth a combined total of £160million – to make way for new recruits.

A new goalkeeper is an ambition, but the club have continued to back Robert Sanchez as No.1 and it will be difficult to convince the hierarchy of otherwise before the summer of 2024.

AC Milan and France star Mike Maignan is admired but would cost around £70million with his contract with the Rossoneri running until 2026.

A new centre-back is a priority and Marc Guehi has been coveted for a long time, but Crystal Palace are adamant he will not be sold until after next summer’s European Championship.

A top defender will be brought in, meanwhile, while buyers could soon be sought for Axel Disasi among others.

One to watch is Goncalo Inacio, the Portugal international currently playing for Sporting Lisbon who has a £52million release clause. Jonathan Tah, the Bayer Leverkusen centre-back, is also being looked at.

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Mauricio Pochettino pushing for Chelsea revolution

Another midfielder is desired, with Pochettino asking for better quality and depth, and Conor Gallagher could be a potential makeweight in any deal with contract talks still unresolved.

Joao Palhinha’s agents have spoken with Chelsea in a bid to try and secure their Fulham-based client a big move in the coming weeks.

The key target is a striker who can fire the club back to the upper echelons of the Premier League table.

Victor Osimhen is the preferred option and there is growing anticipation of a bid in January, despite the huge cost it will take to move him from Napoli.

Ivan Toney is also on Chelsea’s radar but there is still no major movement on a deal – and he could sign a new contract at Brentford who are keen to tie him down to a new long-term arrangement.

Viktor Gyokeres has also been looked at and is seen as a viable option should they be priced out of a January move for Osimhen or beaten to the signature of Toney.

The Sporting striker has been in superb form with nine goals in 12 Liga Portugal games and is admired by several clubs around Europe.

Sporting are not keen to lose a key player midway through their campaign and sources say he will cost a huge fee, and some are misled if they think he is a cheaper alternative.

The Swede signed for Sporting last summer from Coventry City for an initial €20million fee, with another €4million achievable based on certain targets being met. Moreover, the 25-year-old’s contract included a €100million termination fee.

Another name in the frame for Chelsea is Club Brugge’s electrifying Norwegian attacker Antonio Nusa. Chelsea had a £23million bid knocked back for the 18-year-old last summer and are expected to try again in 2024.

It will be a very busy month for the London side and fans can yet again expect Chelsea to be dominating the headlines and spending more to try and improve upon their lacklustre season.

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