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Chelsea eye Aston Villa striker that isn’t Ollie Watkins as ‘short-term’ options assessed | Football | Sport

Chelsea are reportedly considering a move for Aston Villa forward Jhon Duran as they scour the market for short-term options to bolster their attacking ranks. The striker has struggled for minutes so far this season in the Premier League, with Ollie Watkins being irreplaceable in Unai Emery’s starting XI.

Mauricio Pochettino has spoken openly about how Chelsea are on the lookout for a new striker, with Nicolas Jackson failing to convince in the opening months of the campaign despite bagging seven goals in 19 league appearances and his absence due to AFCON likely to prove an issue over the coming weeks.

The Blues are keen to sign a marquee No. 9 that will lead the line for the club in the long-term, though their targets are unlikely to be attainable this month – with pursuits of Napoli forward Victor Osimhen and England international Ivan Toney put on pause until the summer.

As a result, Chelsea are looking at players who would be able to slot into their squad and provide an alternative option in the final third for the remainder of the campaign. According to Di Marzio, the Blues have ‘discussed internally’ signing Duran from Villa this month.

A decision has not been made on whether to pursue the 20-year-old at this stage but he is among the shortlist of options being explored by the club. Villa would also not entertain any offers for the Colombia international unless they have a replacement lined up.

Chelsea are also weighing up whether they truly need to sign a striker ‘urgently’ and do not want to act quickly to bring in a player that does not truly ‘elevate’ their current squad and could therefore disrupt their future transfer plans further down the line.

Duran has struggled to break into Villa’s starting XI since joining the club from Chicago Fire FC last January, making 16 appearances from the substitutes bench in the Premier League so far this season. The striker has therefore played just 174 minutes of league football, though he has managed to find the back twice despite his limited opportunities. Instead, Duran has featured regularly in the Europa Conference League and other cup competitions where his side have been able to rotate freely.

The striker’s lack of minutes is largely due to the electric form of Watkins, who has been linked with a move to Chelsea previously. The England international has scored nine goals and assisted eight so far this season and is the face of Villa’s charge for the top four, with Emery’s side third in the Premier League and just two points behind league leaders Manchester City.

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