Chelsea have identified Torino skipper Andrea Belotti as their third-choice summer target behind Erling Haaland and Romelu Lukaku, according to reports. The 27-year-old has been in fine form for the Serie A strugglers this season, scoring 11 goals and providing a further six assists in league action since the start of the campaign.
Chelsea are in the market for a new striker ahead of next season, with their current options somewhat limited for a side with genuine ambitions of winning domestic and European silverware.
Veteran forward Olivier Giroud is approaching the twilight of his career at 34 years of age, while Tammy Abraham has struggled to prove his credentials under Thomas Tuchel since Frank Lampard’s departure at the end of January.
The German boss has been forced to deploy versatile attacker Kai Havertz at the tip of Chelsea’s attacking trident in recent weeks, underlining the dire need for a top-class striker to lead the line in advance of a renewed Premier League title bid next season.
Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland is said to be the club’s top target with Romelu Lukaku of Inter Milan having been identified as a strong backup option, but a nine-figure transfer fee will undoubtedly be needed to land either player.
This has led the Blues to consider the prospect of approaching Belotti as they search for a cheaper alternative, according to Italian outlet Corriere Granata.
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The forward’s deal is set to expire at the end of next season, meaning that Torino could look to cash in this summer in order to avoid losing him for nothing in a year’s time.
The report claims that Belotti has a release clause of around £85m, only available to clubs outside of Italy, written into his contract.
Despite this, Torino could be willing to accept a lower offer amid the financial restrictions plaguing many sides across the continent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Haaland reportedly valued by Dortmund at £154m and Lukaku unlikely to be sold for less than £102m, Chelsea could seal a cost-effective answer to their problems in attack by turning their attention to Belotti.
However, the Blues are unlikely to be the only interested party, with a number of other clubs said to be in the frame for his signature.
Cross-city rivals Tottenham and West Ham United are named among the striker’s potential suitors, while Everton, West Ham, AC Milan, Inter and Napoli are also keen.
Meanwhile, it is claimed that Belotti is attracting additional interest from unnamed clubs in Spain and Germany.
Despite his goalscoring form this season, he has been unable to steer Torino away from a relegation dogfight with the Serie A side a single point above the drop zone as the business end of the campaign approaches.
Club president Urbano Cairo suggested in February that the ball was firmly in Belotti’s court with regards to his immediate future, claiming that a new deal is the target but suggesting that he may opt to seek a new challenge before the start of next season.
“We have already extended it once and our will is to renew again,” Cairo told reporters.
“Everything depends on Belotti. We are ready to make an advantageous offer. Clearly it is he who has to convince himself about our project.”