Exclusive: Chelsea transfer target has had head turned by Premier League interest

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Chelsea moving for Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic may now be more realistic than a potential transfer deal for AC Milan forward Rafael Leao, according to Ben Jacobs in his exclusive CaughtOffside column.

The Blues have just brought in Mykhaylo Mudryk and Noni Madueke as new signings in the wide-forward department, while Joao Felix is also at the club on loan, so it might now make more sense for them to look at a more out-and-out centre-forward like Vlahovic.

As well as that, Jacobs claims the Serbia international is no longer entirely settled in Italy, and has had his head turned by interest from the Premier League.

Chelsea have had some bad luck with striker signings in recent years, with big names like Romelu Lukaku and Alvaro Morata failing to work out, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Kai Havertz haven’t looked too convincing this season.

Dusan Vlahovic to Chelsea?

Vlahovic has shown immense potential so could prove to be an upgrade, and it seems Jacobs has the 23-year-old down as one to watch with Chelsea.

Additionally, it seems CFC have previously failed to make much progress in their efforts to sign Leao from Milan.

“I don’t think Rafael Leao is necessarily a priority for Chelsea at this point. I think it’s very possible, come the summer, depending on outgoings, that they move for another forward, but the challenge with Leao is two-fold: firstly, the price was too high over summer and Chelsea had no desire to pay, and secondly there’s always been these talks between Milan and Leao ongoing, and if a new deal is signed it changes the complexion things. So, Chelsea haven’t been able to progress on that one,” Jacobs said.

He added: “A final thing on Leao specifically – there are also plenty of other targets they’re looking at. If, say, there were was an exit for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Kai Havertz or perhaps even Raheem Sterling (though I think he’s still someone with a role to play) then there could be room for another signing on top of Nkunku’s arrival.

Rafael Leao has been linked with Chelsea

“I wouldn’t rule out a move for someone like Dusan Vlahovic over Rafa Leao – there’s a real opportunity, I’ve been told many times, that there could be an chance for him to move, more likely in the summer than (as I said back in December) in this window. Even though he’s scoring goals in Serie A, Vlahovic is not as happy at Juventus a he was at Fiorentina, and I think his head has been turned by Premier League interest. That’s one to watch in the summer, and Chelsea are one of the clubs that really like the player.

“So I don’t think the Leao rumours have anything particularly concrete at this stage, I think come the summer the type of forward Chelsea are looking for will be a bit different after they’ve brought in a lot of versatile, creative forwards. We’ll also see if they find a way to sign Joao Felix after his loan as well, that could be another opportunity they’ll want to consider.”

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