Chelsea plot huge late move for prolific striker

Having made a disastrous start to the defence of their Premier League title with a shock home defeat at the hands of Burnley, Chelsea hit back in style by beating Tottenham at Wembley.

Questions remain over the Blues’ striking options, however, with Michy Batshuayi doing little to suggest he can challenge £60m summer-signing Alvaro Morata for a starting place in attack.

According to reports in the Daily Star, Antonio Conte intends to remedy this problem by making a last-gasp move for Andrea Belotti, with AS Monaco now looking increasingly unlikely to rival the West London outfit for his signature.

The 23-year-old’s debut Serie A campaign for Palermo back in 2014/15 could hardly be described as prolific, though just nine of his 38 appearances came as a starter as he helped himself to six goals.

Since moving to Torino, however, the Italian international’s potential has been unleashed, resulting in a total of 38 top-flight goals across the last two campaigns.

These strikes have been supplemented by a further 11 assists and the fact that Belotti netted in all ten months of the 2016/17 Serie A season only serves to highlight his incredible consistency.

One potential stumbling block to any move could be the fee demanded by his current employers, with the Italian outfit likely to want in excess of what Chelsea paid to prize Morata away from Real Madrid.

This might seem reasonable in light of the fact that the 23-year-old netted 26 top-flight goals to the Spaniard’s 15 last season, though he is far less experienced at the highest level and actually scored at a slower rate.

More Breaking News:

The Loan Report: August 21-27

August is yet to come to an end and we’ve reached the ten-goal milestone for the Chelsea Loan Army season, as well as passing the 100 appearances marker too. Four goals this week came from familiar sources, with two for a prolific marksman and one celebrating his first senior strike.

Lewis Baker got us off and running with a goal in his first Middlesbrough start on Tuesday evening. Handed a place in the starting eleven against Scunthorpe in the League Cup, he showed off his class and finishing prowess with a smartly-taken effort to help Boro on their way to a 3-0 win.

He duly retained his place for the league match at home to Preston four days later, and would have had an assist had Fabio Da Silva been able to finish, but instead he lasted 68 minutes of a goalless draw.

A little while after Baker had netted on Tuesday, Tammy Abraham got the ball rolling on what will hopefully be another prolific campaign. In the wake of manager Paul Clement’s comments that he “was not (at Swansea) on work experience” and that the club were depending on him to score goals, a trip to MK Dons in the same League Cup proved a timely opportunity to get off the mark in typical style, tapping in at the far post en route to a 4-1 win.

Rather more notable, though, was his maiden Premier League goal against Crystal Palace on Saturday. Chelsea academy staff were in attendance – despite Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s absence through a groin injury – and they will have been pleased with what they saw as the England Under-21 forward showed strength and desire to get onto Leroy Fer’s cross ahead of the defender before producing a top-class finish.

That leaves Iké Ugbo, who got Saturday’s goalscoring off to a good start with his first official goal in senior football. Having initially been credited with one against Morecambe in the League Cup only for it to later, and correctly, change to be an own goal, he left little doubt this time with the opener in a 3-0 win over Sunderland at Oakwell.

England

Premier League

Kurt Zouma played an hour of Stoke’s 4-0 win over Rochdale in the League Cup and then found life a little harder in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against West Brom, but Kasey Palmer claimed an assist in Huddersfield’s 2-1 victory over Rotherham before getting just over half an hour in their 0-0 draw at home to Southampton.

Izzy Brown is still out with a hamstring injury down at Brighton.

Championship

Ola Aina and Michael Hector were both rested as Hull lost to Doncaster in midweek cup action but were both restored for Friday’s 4-0 Championship drubbing of Bolton Wanderers. Aina continues to show both sides of his raw potential, whilst Hector played a key role in their first goal, winning the ball back well in midfield before launching a swift counter-attack.

Fulham lost to Bristol Rovers in the cup without Tomas Kalas but beat Ipswich 2-0 on Saturday with the Czech back to something approaching his best at the heart of their defence.

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