While the Blues have been told they will have to be patient to sign the Nigeria international in the summer – the Blues have agreed to meet the player’s release clause – they need an attacking reinforcement immediately and are looking to the 20-year-old as a potential stop-gap measure.
Duran has shown some promise for Unai Emery’s side this season, scoring two Premier League goals and creating another in just 171 minutes on the field, all of which have come in brief stints as a substitute.
Chelsea, though, have seen enough of the former Chicago Fire star to make a move, according to Guillermo Arango, a renowned Colombian journalist.
“Chelsea has intensified their push to sign Jhon Duran from Aston Villa in recent hours,” he reports on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“However, it will not be an easy operation. The Villans have already rejected an offer from West Ham, who wanted the striker on loan.”
Duran certainly promises to be a complicated player to sign. Aston Villa paid €16.5 million for the forward in the summer, and with the 20-year-old having impressed in his brief cameos, the in-form Birmingham club will want significantly more than that for any deal to be pushed through.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) September 16, 2023
Duran a tidy fit for Chelsea
Signing the forward, though, makes sense in terms of his profile.
According to data analytics experts SciSports, Duran bears a strong resemblance to Osimhen in the manner in which the two players interpret the centre-forward role, albeit the South American is far removed from the reputation the Nigeria international has built for himself.
2022 | Major League Soccer (USA)
Centre forward (1442 Minutes played)
2022/2023 | Serie A (ITA)
Centre forward (2648 Minutes played)
Both players feel most comfortable when asked to play as poachers, and this type of predator is exactly what Chelsea need as Nicolas Jackson and Armando Broja misfire while the more versatile Christopher Nkunku continues to struggle with injury problems.
Some fears have been voiced over the deal, with Matt Law telling the London Blue podcast last weekend: “It’s interesting because it hasn’t been denied. I was flabbergasted when I saw it because I have seen a lot of him, but if you think Nicolas Jackson is raw times it by 5 for Jhon Duran.”
Chelsea could get a chance to take a closer look at Duran on Friday, when they face Aston Villa in FA Cup action, with this the type of competition that Emery may be tempted to give the striker a more prolonged opportunity to impress.