Chelsea are closing in on a surprise new striker signing, amidst suggestions Michy Batshuayi is set to leave the club on loan in the coming weeks.
Red Star Belgrade’s Richmond Boakye is one player the Blues have had in their sights for some time, reports the Evening Standard, with the relatively unknown Ghanaian striker in red-hot form in Serbia’s SuperLiga.
The 12-times-capped international, who started his career with Serie A’s Genoa in 2009, has notched an impressive 23 times in 28 appearances this term for his side, with 39 in 48 overall since initially joining the side on loan last season. He has also found the net six times for the Ghana national side.
He is no stranger to Blues boss Antonio Conte; the Italian was the Juventus coach when Boakye signed for the Italian giants in 2012, although the now 24-year-old was subsequently shipped out on loan without seeing any competitive first-team action.
One in; one out?
The Ghanaian’s form, however, has led Conte to reassess the talents of his former charge and send scouts to Red Star’s Europa League fixtures with Arsenal this term. It is now believed that the 48-year-old is pressing the Chelsea board to make a formal offer for the striker in the current transfer window as he looks to strengthen his relatively shallow squad.
The domino effect may be in play here; it is unlikely the Blues will make a move for the starlet unless Batshuayi manages to push through a temporary move to allow him regular first-team action ahead of the World Cup this summer. Rumours have persisted that the player could even be used as a part-exchange deal to secure the services of long-term target Thomas Lemar from Monaco.
According to transfermarkt.com, Boakye could be a cheap replacement should the Belgian move on, with his value listed as low as £1.8 million.