Chelsea are crafting a squad which they hope will be capable of competing for major honours both domestically and continentally on an annual basis, having undergone a lucrative transformation since the arrival of new owner Todd Boehly last year.
The club have parted with more than £550m to bolster the squad, including £288m in January after the new era started off with a splutter as the club sat ninth =in the Premier League after 21 matches, ten points behind fourth-placed Newcastle United and out of both domestic cup competitions at the hands of Manchester City.
For all of the Blues’ spending, with notable deals including winter acquisitions of winger Mykhaylo Mudryk for £88.5m and central midfielder Enzo Fernandez for a British record £107m, the centre-forward position has thus far not been sorted.
There are reliable reports that dynamic RB Leipzig attacker Christopher Nkunku has had his £52.4m release clause met, and he would be a tantalising arrival having plundered 17 goals from 23 matches this term.
By sharp contrast, 33-year-old summer signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has only scored three times all season and has recently been omitted from the Blues’ Champions League knockout phase squad following the January spending spree.
While Joao Felix plies his trade at Stamford Bridge on loan for the remainder of the campaign, there is indeed a sense that uncertainty permeates from the centre-forward position, one from which there has been a glaring sparsity of goals this term.
With this in mind, Chelsea supporters might just come to rue the club’s decision to part with talented 19-year-old striker Jude Soonsup-Bell, who has joined London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on a two-and-a-half year deal.
A fierce goalscorer right from his formative years, Soonsup-Bell scored 23 goals from 25 outings for the Chelsea U21 side and made his professional debut for the Blues with 45 minutes of action in a 2-0 Carabao Cup victory over Premier League outfit Brentford last season, where he was lauded by youth coach Ed Brand as “fantastic“.
Scouted Football heralded the 19-year-old for the power in his darting movements which belies his age, the mobility in his dynamic movements and a technical proficiency which could allow him to flourish at the very top.
Potter and Chelsea might end up lamenting the decision to let him leave, with this move having echoes of the club’s sale of another potent academy graduate in Tammy Abraham.
The 25-year-old made 82 appearances for the Blues and scored 30 times (also setting up 12 goals) before departing for AS Roma, where he found resounding success in a 27-goal season which ended with his club winning the Europa Conference League.
Abraham is no longer on Chelsea’s books, having joined Jose Mourinho’s Roma for £34m in 2021 and forged a path to prominence by being trusted regularly by his manager. It’s hard not to imagine that the club might indeed have replicated that success with the “big talent” – as lauded by VERSUS – that is Soonsup-Bell.
Chelsea are indeed building towards the creation of a glamorous new-look team, and while the west London outfit could well land a world-class target man in due course, they might have held the answer to their centre-forward woes in the shape of the 19-year-old, who will instead forge his way elsewhere in the capital with Spurs.
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