Premier League • England

Pochettino demands Chelsea make one specific signing alongside striker move, with West Ham deal the blueprint

Chelsea FC manager Mauricio Pochettino

Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino has made a transfer demand

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has urged his club to bring in a set-piece specialist this summer to help them score more goals and get back in the mix for top-four finishes in the Premier League.

Chelsea’s priority for the summer window is understood to be a new centre-forward. Pochettino does not feel current option Nicolas Jackson has the experienced needed to lead Chelsea’s forward line week in, week out.

The Blues’ other attackers, such as Cole Palmer, Christopher Nkunku and Raheem Sterling, are great at creating chances, but they need a goal-hungry striker to play alongside them and finish those chances off.

Chelsea’s top target is Napoli ace Victor Osimhen, though he will not come cheap. The 25-year-old recently penned a new contract in Naples which includes a huge €130million (£111m) release clause, but Chelsea have shown in the past they are willing to break the bank to ensure success returns to Stamford Bridge.

It looks like the West London outfit will push hard to land a set-piece specialist in addition to Osimhen ahead of next season.

Prior to Chelsea’s home clash against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, Pochettino explained how he wants to copy James Ward-Prowse’s transfer to West Ham United so his team can be more effective in dead ball situations.

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“We work a lot on set-pieces,” the Argentine coach said at a press conference (via the Daily Mail). “After that, it is about the quality of the player. It is about the takers.

“We don’t have a specialist. If you want to be good in set-pieces, we work a lot. But then you need good takers.”

Pochettino wants his own Ward-Prowse at Chelsea

Pochettino added: “It is not down to the work. We work similar. But the problem is to have good takers. We were talking about trying to find for next season a good specialist.

“Look at West Ham. What changed? After and before? It’s not the same. The taker is Ward-Prowse. You add a player like him, you increase the percentage. That is football. Football belongs to the players. Not to the specialist (coaches).”

Five of Chelsea’s 36 league goals this season have come from set-pieces, but Pochettino is determined to increase that number. Chelsea are one of the few Prem clubs who still do not have a specific set-piece coach, though Pochettino clearly feels the players can make a difference, rather than the coaches.

The former Tottenham Hotspur boss will be hoping Chelsea can follow in Manchester City’s footsteps, after Kevin de Bruyne brilliantly set up Julian Alvarez with an incisive pass from a free-kick during the recent 3-1 victory over Burnley.

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