Chelsea’s greatest challenge final season was the incapability to merely put the ball in the again of the internet. Solely 4 groups scored fewer Premier League targets than the Blues (38), with even relegated pair Leeds and Leicester netting extra. Strengthening the frontline was at all times the precedence for a west London aspect in want of a refresh this summer season. But they’d to strike a stability.
Chelsea’s squad stays extremely bloated, although the departures of N’Golo Kante and Kalidou Koulibaly have helped, at the very least, reduce the wage invoice. Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Edouard Mendy and Mason Mount are anticipated to observe the pair out of the Stamford Bridge exit as the squad is streamlined.
We’re not but in July however the Blues have at the least made their first transfer to appropriate their purpose points: Christopher Nkunku has arrived from RB Leipzig on the again of a stable Bundesliga marketing campaign that noticed him internet 16 occasions – no participant in Germany’s high tier scored extra. The 25-year-old received’t be the solely ahead to rock up in the capital, nonetheless, with Nicolas Jackson set to observe go well with.
Jackson was prepped for a transfer to Bournemouth in January, solely to fail a medical, and was subsequently linked with a transfer to Aston Villa this summer season – but Chelsea have received the race for the 22-year-old, who scored 12 targets and supplied 4 assists in LaLiga final season, a high-quality return for a participant who registered simply 1,603 minutes of sport time.
Of these 12 targets, 10 have been scored since the flip of the yr. Solely former Actual Madrid hitman Karim Benzema (12) bagged extra in Spain’s high tier in the first half of 2023.
Crucially, Jackson is aware of precisely the place the purpose is. Feed the Senegalese star and he’ll rating. Of the 120 gamers to muster 25 or extra pictures, Jackson returned the greatest conversion charge (29.3 per cent) in the 22/23 LaLiga marketing campaign.
Regardless of a goal-shy season, Chelsea nonetheless averaged the eighth most key passes per sport (9.9) in the Premier League, a return that may be improved upon, however a affordable base nonetheless. As well as, the Blues ranked tenth for giant probabilities created (57), but in flip missed the sixth most (52). Kai Havertz was the greatest offender, lacking 14 clear-cut goalscoring alternatives, however with the German set to go away for Arsenal there may be room for a new striker at Stamford Bridge.
Jackson, in contrast, carried out beautifully when the probabilities have been laid out on a plate, returning a clear-cut conversion charge of 56.3 per cent, the greatest in Spain’s high flight final season.
Nonetheless, there may be extra to Jackson’s sport than scoring targets. He’s not an old school No 9 however relatively a modern-day ahead, who appears to be like to hyperlink the play in addition to get on the finish of probabilities. A median of 1.2 key passes per 90 minutes is a respectable common, whereas a go success charge of 76.4 per cent from 17.9 passes per 90 are stable figures for a striker.
With Mauricio Pochettino anticipated to use a 4-2-3-1 setup, he’ll want his main frontman to work his manner into the field and, the place wanted, maintain up possession earlier than laying the ball on for his teammates. Jackson, then, ticks the proper bins.
Contemplating the thrilling wingers at Pochettino’s disposal – who’ll undoubtedly profit from a full pre-season in a settled setting below the Argentine’s watchful eye – and the risk of Nkunku working in the No 10 function as a second striker, Jackson’s willingness to convey others into play means Chelsea ought to rapidly dwarf their 38-goal haul from final season.
The Senegal star isn’t maybe the identical headline-stealing hitman in the type of Victor Osimhen that some supporters might crave, however then if Jackson is the preferrred match, is that basically a problem?
Chelsea will likely be touchdown a participant who will profit the present crop of attackers on the books at Stamford Bridge and, over the long run, can grow to be the full centre-forward with the proper teaching. Pochettino, in any case, did flip Harry Kane into a world-beater.