Paul Merson has doubled down on his thoughts regarding Chelsea forward Nicolas Jackson as he insists the 22-year-old is still a “work in progress”.
Following on from a disastrous 2022-23 campaign, Chelsea haven’t exactly had the smoothest of starts to their new campaign.
Mauricio Pochettino overhauled the squad in the summer, but he has struggled to get a consistent tune out of his new team so far.
Scoring goals was Chelsea’s major Achilles heel last year and they have had the same problems this time around. Three of their five league goals came against Luton and they have failed to score in their last two matches.
Following an injury to Christopher Nkunku, the goalscoring burden has predominantly fallen onto the shoulders of Jackson so far.
The 22-year-old arrived from Villarreal this summer for a fee of around £32million. While he has shown some glimpses of quality, he only has one goal to his name so far.
“Nicolas Jackson looks like a great player,” Merson said. “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.”
Merson stands by Jackson verdict
Despite his struggles in the Premier League so far, Merson thinks that Jackson will eventually come good in a Chelsea shirt as he has insisted the star is still a work in progress.
“Nicolas Jackson is currently struggling, but I rate him highly and wouldn’t worry about him in the long term,” Merson told Sportskeeda.
“The kid has just come into a new team and is adapting to a new league, so he’s still very much a work in progress.
“The problem for Mauricio Pochettino is that with Christopher Nkunku out injured, he doesn’t have the option of taking Jackson out of the firing line.”
Chelsea’s next fixture sees them going up against Unai Emery’s Aston Villa. Pochettino’s side have only won one of their first five matches and really could do with a result in this one.
If Chelsea are to turn their form around then someone like Jackson could be crucial. The £32m signing has shown some early signs of promise, but there is still surely much more to come from him.