Chelsea finally close to sealing deal for target man 1 year ago

Chelsea finally close to sealing deal for target man

Antonio Conte's January shortlist raised several eyebrows but it looks like he's finally got his man... or men.

Top of Conte's wishlist this month has been a big target man who the Chelsea manager hopes will be able to deputise for Alvaro Morata.

Conte first made West Ham's Andy Carroll a priority before turning his sights to a surprising option, with Peter Crouch also linked with a move to Stamford Bridge.

The Blues boss has always been a fan of having a burly aerial threat in his ranks and it's served him well in the past.

And now it seems like Conte has finally nailed down the centre-forward he feels confident in calling on when his side is chasing a game.

According to several reports, Chelsea have the option of bringing in Roma forward Edin Dzeko this month in a double deal which will also see full-back Emerson Palmieri join up.

The fee for both players is expected to be about £44 million and while nothing is close to being confirmed, the decision now lies with Conte.

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has branded Conte's pursuit of a target man "desperate" while Eden Hazard maintains that the reigning Premier League champions don't need to sign another forward to pose an aerial threat.

"Football is simple. Keep the ball on the ground and try [to play] like we did," Hazard said after last weekend's 4-0 victory over Brighton.

"I think we have two very good strikers in Alvaro and Michy," Hazard added. "If they are not ready to play I can play striker, so I don’t think we need [another striker]."

Dzeko scored 72 goals in 189 games for Manchester City between 2010 and 2015 while he has enjoyed an even better return rate since moving to Rome (61 in 116).