CHELSEA are eyeing a summer move for Celta Vigo’s prolific Uruguayan striker Maxi Gomez – and they could get him on the cheap.
Gomez, who is also a target for Barcelona, has a £50m buy-out clause in his contract, but that fee will drop to £25m if Celta are relegated from La Liga.
Right now, Celta have dropped into the relegation zone, after taking just four points from their last 11 matches.
Gomez scored 17 goals last season in his first campaign in European football, which has had clubs all over the Continent monitoring his progress this year – and Chelsea are among those who are ready to make a move at the end of this season.
The Blues are looking for more firepower in case Gonzalo Higuain returns to Italy following his loan from Juventus.
Olivier Giroud is also out of contract, although the London club may choose to extend his deal.
Liverpool were turned onto the exciting forward by former player Luis Suarez, who urged the Reds to sign Gomez before bigger clubs came knocking.
West Ham were also interested in the striker in January but were unwilling to match Celta’s demands.
After netting nine goals up to that point, the 22 year old has scored just once in his last 11 league games and been sent off once, as his club’s form has plummeted.
That though has partly been because of the absence of his strike partner Iago Aspas, who is currently side-lined through injury.
Gomez has played nine times for Uruguay and was a member of their squad for the World Cup in Russia where they reached the quarter final.
Meanwhile, Chelsea defender Emerson Palmieri has admitted that the players are “afraid” of losing star man Eden Hazard in the summer.
The Belgium international has been the subject of intense speculation in recent months about a move to Real Madrid and has admitted that he would like the move one day.
And with Zinedine Zidane returning for a second spell at the Bernabeu this week, talk has begun once more.
But Emerson, who has recently broken into the Chelsea first team after a slow start, insists the club cannot afford to lose someone of Hazard’s calibre.
“He shows every day how important he is,” Emerson told Sky Sports. “Obviously we have many players of quality in our team but he is on another level, and is one of the best in the world.
“I personally cannot see him leaving, but you never know in football. Like Chelsea fans, we are afraid that he might leave, I still believe that he will stay and we really want him to stay.”