Chelsea transfer news: Mauricio Pochettino talks up West Ham star

Jacque Talbot
Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea, 2023/24

Chelsea head coach Mauricio Pochettino has talked up West Ham midfielder James Ward-Prowse ahead of the summer transfer window.

The Blueswill target a set-piece specialist at the end of the season and the Argentine even name-dropped Hammers star Ward-Prowse, who is one of the most clinical free-kick specialists in the world.

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Pochettino feels his team needs to improve their set-pieces, claiming that Ben Chilwell is the closest they have.

Following their 4-1 loss to Liverpool said Pochettino via the Daily Mail: “We work a lot on set-pieces.

“After that, it is about the quality of the player. It is about the takers. We don’t have a specialist. If you want to be good in set pieces, we work a lot. But then you need good takers.”

The West London club are one of several clubs in the Premier League that do not have a set-piece specialist in their backroom staff.

“It is not down to the work,’ Pochettino said. ‘We work similar. But the problem is to have good takers. We were talking about trying to find for next season a good specialist.

“Look at West Ham. What changed? After and before? It’s not the same. The taker is Ward-Prowse. You add a player like him, you increase the percentage. That is football. Football belongs to the players. Not to the specialist (coaches).”

James Ward-Prowse is a free-kick specialist
© IMAGO – James Ward-Prowse is a free-kick specialist

How many goals have Chelsea scored from set pieces this season?

Only five of Chelsea’s 36 Premier League goals this season have come from set-pieces, while their goal record in general has been below par.

During the winter window, they let Armando Broja leave on loan to Fulham without signing a striker.

But Pochettino has insisted he has enough options up front – Nicolas Jackson is back and available for selection for their upcoming games against Wolves after returning from the Africa Cup of Nations.

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