After a solid pre-season and a good performance against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on the opening weekend of the 2023-24 Premier League campaign, the majority of Chelsea fans had regained hope in their side under the guidance of new boss Mauricio Pochettino.
However, the Blues have since flattered to deceive and currently find themselves loitering in the bottom half of the table once again. Chelsea have only won three of their eight top-flight encounters, with victories over Luton Town, local rivals Fulham and strugglers Burnley.
Before their recent 2-0 win over Marco Silva’s side at Craven Cottage, Pochettino’s men picked up just one point from a possible nine in what appeared to be a winnable run of fixtures against Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth and Aston Villa, while they failed to even score a goal in those 270 minutes.
Chelsea’s struggles in front of goal are a real cause for concern. Summer signing Nicolas Jackson initially impressed for the Blues, but he has just two goals in seven Premier League games. Armando Broja has returned to full fitness and his strike against Fulham is a potential sign he could be the answer to Chelsea’s woes in front of goal, but he fired a blank against Burnley.
Pochettino will be keen to have Christopher Nkunku, another summer arrival, back in the squad. But the 2022-23 Bundesliga topscorer isn’t expected to return until at least December, after picking up an injury in Chelsea’s final pre-season game against Borussia Dortmund – it’s also worth noting that he isn’t exactly an out-and-out striker.
This makes Jackson and Broja, who don’t really have the firepower to make the Blues more favourable in the Chelsea v Arsenal odds ahead of their clash on October 21, the Argentine manager’s only real options in centre-forward. As such, he might try and convince the Blues’ free-spending owner Todd Boehly to loosen his purse strings to bring in a reliable scorer in the January transfer window and quash their issues in front of goal once and for all.
It is notoriously difficult to make high-profile signings in the winter window and Chelsea fans will be sceptical of any potential arrivals in January given their extremely poor record of mid-season arrivals. But that’s not to say it’s impossible, and Pochettino could have some interesting options to weigh up in the new year.
The first is Napoli striker Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian is considered one of the most exciting forwards in the game at the minute, scoring 26 goals in 32 appearances to win the Serie A’s Golden Boot last term, and he might well be on the market after a big public fallout at the Italian side.
He has started this season impressively with five goals in seven league matches, but his relationship with the club looks to be in tatters after Napoli made several social media posts mocking him, and he could be looking for a move in January — but he won’t come cheap despite what has happened.
A less expensive option would be Brentford’s Ivan Toney. The 27-year-old netted 20 Premier League goals in 33 appearances for the Bees last season but is currently serving an eight-month ban for breaching the FA’s betting rules. He is set to return in January though, and he could be open to a fresh start as he looks to rejuvenate his playing career.
The exciting Benjamin Sesko is another name being touted, but the 20-year-old only officially joined RB Leipzig in July so it’s unlikely the German side would be willing to sell him after just six months. Therefore, Chelsea could turn to another tried and tested Premier League striker — Ollie Watkins.
The 27-year-old England international has been in superb form for Aston Villa recently, scoring the only goal in his side’s 1-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge before bagging a hat-trick against Brighton and Hove Albion as Unai Emery’s men thrashed the Seagulls 6-1 at Villa Park.