Chelsea keen on 'signable' Premier League striker after Benjamin Sesko deal collapsed

Benjamin Sesko has agreed a new deal at RB Leipzig. (Image: Getty)

Chelsea are lining up a move for Aston Villa striker Jhon Duran after their hopes of landing RB Leipzig striker Benjamin Sesko this summer were scuppered. Both the Blues and Arsenal appeared to be battling it out for the Slovenian striker, having signalled their intentions to meet his £55million release clause.

However, with the Bundesliga club keen to tie up his future ahead of Euro 2024, Sesko is understood to have agreed a new contract this week with improved terms.

Upon signing the deal, both parties seemingly agreed that Sesko would still not be blocked from moving to an elite European club, but at a price considerably higher than his previous clause.

And Chelsea have reacted by reportedly renewing their pursuit of Villa man Duran, who was linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in January. The Colombian arrived in Birmingham in January 2023 after a £14.75m move from Chicago Fire, but has since scored just eight times for the club in 49 appearances.

According to The Times, Chelsea have stepped up their interest in the player and he is an ‘attainable’ target this summer.

The 20-year-old has played second fiddle to Ollie Watkins up front, with manager Unai Emery favouring a system with one forward man. However, he reminded potential suitors of his ability in May, coming off the bench to score twice in a dramatic 3-3 draw with Liverpool.

Jhon Duran struck twice against Liverpool in May. (Image: Getty)

His chested half-volley goal against Crystal Palace in September also caught the attention of other clubs. And it was deemed Aston Villa’s Goal of the Season at the club’s end of season awards ceremony.

The nine-cap international has made no secret of his interest in Chelsea, liking a series of posts relating to the club on his official X account. And his agent, Jonathan Herrera, recently implied that a move remained on the cards irrespective of whether or not Mauricio Pochettino was to depart.

“The interest has always been there,” said Herrera last month. “The fact that Pochettino continues or leaves the club shouldn’t affect it, the one who wants him in the end is the club.

“He is a player that if they change coach or not, we will see what happens, but there has always been interest. Let’s see how we can handle it and make sure Aston Villa are ready.”

Pochettino duly departed two weeks later, replaced by Leicester’s Enzo Maresca. And acquiring a new striker is thought to be one of the Italian’s first major tasks this summer as well as making sales to comply with profit and sustainability rules.

Unlike Chelsea, Villa have secured Champions League football for next season. But they too need to sell players in order to avoid falling foul of financial regulations.