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Chelsea ready to test Napoli resolve over Victor Osimhen with January bid

Chelsea are ready to bring their pursuit of Napoli striker Victor Osimhem forward to the January transfer window, 90min understands.

Osimhen has long been Chelsea’s top striker target but the Blues began to explore other targets last summer when it appeared as though the Nigeria international would sign a new contract in Naples. Ivan Toney, Santiago Gimenez and Lautaro Martinez were among those being tracked.

Since then, however, issues have arisen in Osimhen’s negotiations with Napoli and sources have confirmed to 90min that there is little chance he will agree to an extension despite his club’s ongoing efforts.

That has given Chelsea hope that a move for Osimhen in 2024 is a serious possibility – and while a summer transfer remains the most likely outcome, 90min understands the Blues are ready to test Napoli’s resolve sooner with a January bid.

Chelsea are well aware that they may need to break their transfer record to land 24-year-old Osimhen, whose price tag is expected to exceed the £115m paid to sign Moises Caicedo from Brighton & Hove Albion this past summer.

While Napoli remain keen to keep Osimhen, they may be forced to listen to interest as the striker enters the final 18 months of his contract.

Victor Osimhen

Osimhen’s future is far from certain / Francesco Pecoraro/GettyImages

Chelsea are also among the sides to have scouted Osimhen’s Napoli teammate Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who is in talks over his own contract extension. Napoli are adamant they will not lose their two top assets in the same year, with Osimhen the more likely to be granted an exit from Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in 2024.

Napoli’s financial demands will obviously impact Chelsea’s next move as the free-spending Blues may need to raise funds through player sales before pulling the trigger on any new signings.

Centre-back Trevoh Chalobah is available for transfer and Chelsea could also part ways with full-back Ian Maatsen, who is approaching the final 18 months of his own contract and is yet to ink an extension.

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