Chelsea Chases Osimhen

Victor Osimhen

Chelsea have added Napoli forward Victor Osimhen to their list of possible January targets, sources have told ESPN.

Chelsea are in the market for a centre-forward and are already monitoring Brentford’s Ivan Toney, who is also attracting interest from Arsenal as ESPN reported on September 26.

Osimhen has forged a reputation as one of Europe’s most exciting strikers after scoring 26 goals in 32 league games last season as Napoli secured their first Serie A title since 1990.

That fine form — which has continued into this season with six goals from 10 games — has led Napoli to price Osimhen in the region of £120 million ($147.7m), which is around £40million higher than Toney’s valuation.

Chelsea are hoping to have Christopher Nkunku — a £52m summer signing from RB Leipzig — available early in the New Year following knee surgery to rival Nicolas Jackson and Armando Broja to lead their attack but want to strengthen their options despite taking spending under owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital past the £1 billion mark this summer.

It is unclear at this stage whether Chelsea or Arsenal will formally pursue Osimhen in January — Real Madrid have also been credited with an interest — and much may depend on how talks progress with Brentford over Toney.

Napoli are hoping to keep Osimhen until next summer — at least — as they attempt to tie the 24-year-old down to a new contract but talks have slowed, firstly over the size of the release clause the player wants included, but then over a TikTok post the club later deleted.

The club’s official account appeared to mock Osimhen after he missed a penalty in a 0-0 draw against Bologna last month, an act which brought condemnation from the player’s agent, Roberto Calenda, and a formal apology from Napoli officials.

The player’s contract expires in June 2025 and any sustained refusal to sign a new deal will give interested clubs fresh hope he can be prised away from Napoli in January.