West Londoners are currently in desperate need of goals from their forwards.
Premier League giants Chelsea are interested in signing highly rated AC Milan front man Stephan El Shaarawy when the winter transfer window does finally open again for business for the year in January.
The west London club have been enduring something of a shortage of goals from their attacking players at Stamford Bridge since the start of the new campaign, even though returning head coach Jose Mourinho signed experienced Cameroon international Samuel Eto’o in August on a free transfer from big-spending Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala.
But despite the 32-year-old’s arrival at the Blues, neither he, Spain international Fernando Torres or Senegalese striker Demba Ba have managed to consistently find the back of the net in the capital so far, with the trio having failed to net a single goal between them in 10 Premier League starts in this campaign.
And it is that dearth of goals that has now caused the self-styled ‘Special One’ to start planning for the arrival of a new top-quality marksman in the new year to take the pressure off his misfiring attackers, after the Portuguese missed out on landing Manchester United front man Wayne Rooney during the summer.
The Chelsea manager had been extremely confident of luring the hugely talented England international to the capital after the player himself had publicly declared his intention to quit the Premier League champions and move to the Bridge this season.
However, both the Portuguese and the forward’s hopes of working together were dashed when the Red Devils declared they would not sell their star man to a rival club, no matter the transfer fee on offer.
And despite ‘Mou’ trying to engineer a deal to bring the 27-year-old to the Blues all the way up to the closing of the summer transfer window on Sept 2, in the end he was forced to accept defeat in his efforts, which ultimately had the knock-on effect of leaving the Uefa Europa League holders short of numbers in attack this season, even with the late arrival of Eto’o.
Mourinho, who surprised many by allowing powerful Belgium international Romelu Lukaku to join Premier League rivals Everton on a season-long loan deal for this campaign, has now put into place plans though to bring Milan’s exciting young forward to England in January.
The Blues coach has used his myriad on contacts in Italy from his time spent coaching in Serie A with the Rossoneri’s fierce city rivals Inter Milan, to sound out with El Shaarawy and his agent Roberto La Florio to initially ascertain whether or not the Italy international would be interested in leaving San Siro next year.
And the noises coming back from El Shaarawy’s camp were understood to be positive, meaning that Chelsea now intend to speak to the player’s employers to discuss the possibility of taking the attacker to the Premier League in January.
El Shaarawy has been with the Serie A giants for the past three campaigns now, with the 20-year-old having initially moved to San Siro from fellow Italian outfit Genoa in June 2011 for an undisclosed fee.
And in the intervening two-year period the ‘Pharaoh’, as he is known, has proved himself to be an excellent addition to Milan’s squad and one of the brightest and most accomplished strikers currently plying their trade in Serie A.
After an initial struggle to find the back of the net for the Rossoneri, with El Shaarawy netting just four goals in total in 28 matches in all competitions for his club in his debut season in Italy, including only two strikes in his 22 league outings for Milan, the player then started to raise his game as he gained more confidence in front of goal.
As a result, in his second campaign at Milan the attacker improved his scoring rate by netting 19 goals in total in 46 contests in all competitions, including 16 strikes in his 37 Serie A outings, goalscoring form that helped propel his Massimo Allegri’s side into this season’s Uefa Champions League.
And while the youngster may be struggling once again to hit the target for the Rossoneri so far in this campaign, El Shaarawy is still considered by many experts and judges to be one of the hottest striking properties on the Continent at present.
El Shaarawy and his representative did put pen to paper on a one-year contract extension that Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani offered the front man back in February, meaning that the Italian is currently tied to San Siro until June 30 2018.
However, all that ensures is that Milan can get as good a price as is possible for one of the few remaining world-class stars currently left at the club, and with Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi known to prefer both the playing ability and the marketing reach of recent new signing Mario Balotelli, it is understood that the Rossoneri are more than happy to cash in on El Shaarawy in January, while at the same time holding on to ‘Balo’.