Chelsea could make a surprise move for a Premier League striker as Mauricio Pochettino looks to strengthen his options up front before the end of the January transfer window.
The Blues have lacked an alternative to the inconsistent Nicolas Jackson, who is away at AFCON with Senegal, with backups Armando Broja still proving unconvincing and Christopher Nkunku unable to find fitness throughout the campaign.
Chelsea have been unable to have the same impact on the transfer market this month that they have had over the past three windows, where they splashed out more than €1 billion on players, with financial fair play regulations restricting their spending potential.
West Ham are already believed to have had a loan approach turned down for Duran this month, with the 20-year-old considered a useful backup for Ollie Watkins at Villa.
A move for Duran would be intriguing given his underwhelming record of just two goals in 26 appearances, however all of those have been off the bench, with the Colombian said to be keen on searching for more first team opportunities elsewhere.
Chelsea’s pursuit of a striker depends on sale
Duran only joined Villa last January for €17 million but he is still considered a raw prospect despite being highly rated, having earned four bookings in just 174 minutes of action this season, while it is unclear whether Chelsea would be able to offer him more football once Jackson returns from international duty.
Any approach for Duran will likely hinge on the future of Broja, who is available for transfer due to Chelsea’s financial situation, although Fulham, Wolves and West Ham have all so far been reluctant to pay the Blues’ asking price of more than €50m.
However, Duran is considered as a more feasible signing for Chelsea than someone like Karim Benzema, due to the Villa man’s age and low wages.
Benzema has been linked with a loan exit from Al-Ittihad having dealt with disciplinary issues and he is believed to be pushing for a return to Europe, with Manchester United and Arsenal among the sides linked with a move for the 36-year-old.