Flying a bit under the radar thanks to the uncertain futures of Eden Hazard and Callum Hudson-Odoi is the fact that neither of Chelsea’s two first-team strikers are under contract for next season. The Blues do have the option to extend Gonzalo Higuaín’s loan (or activate the buyout clause, even) but Olivier Giroud’s contract is up in June and there seems to be no effort to get him re-signed. And while there’s always the a hope that Tammy Abraham will be given an (unprecedented) proper shot after yet another stellar season on loan in the Championship, Chelsea most likely will be in the market for a big-money signing at the position.
Top of that list of potential signings, according to Germany’s Bild, is 21-year-old Luka Jović. If you haven’t yet heard of the Eintracht Frankfurt striker, do not worry. Predicted to be one of the hottest names in the summer transfer window, he’s sure to make his rounds until we’re practically sick of him. Barcelona and Liverpool have already been linked repeatedly, amongst others, and now here come Chelsea as well. Working in our favor is that Jović’s “advisor” is definitely a familiar name, Fali Ramadani, who was instrumental in the deals to sign Jorginho and Maurizio Sarri last summer.
Bidding for Jović is expected to start in the €40-50m range, though as the Bundesliga’s leading goalscorer, the €100m that some expect for a “once in a lifetime player”, especially in today’s market, may not be out of the question. Either way, Eintracht will make an absolute killing on the sale, after they activate his €7-10m buyout clause from Benfica (unless they manage to keep him, but no one’s honestly expecting that). Jović is currently in the second year of a two-year loan from Benfica, where he had a very tough time as a teenager following a move from Red Star Belgrade. Eintracht have already confirmed their intention to activate the clause, but are then expected to sell him on immediately for a massive profit — a similar situation to what almost happened with Antonio Rüdiger before an injury delayed a sale to Chelsea by 12 months.
Jović currently stands on 14 goals in 19 league appearances and 19 goals in 27 games in all competitions, and has drawn comparisons to some of the greatest players at the position, including Germany legend Gerd Müller and 1991 European Cup and Golden Shoe winner Darko Pantić, part of that legendary Red Star side just before the breakup of Yugoslavia. Jović, like those two players or his idol Radamel Falcao (the good version, not the Chelsea version), isn’t the biggest player, but has that indefinable nose for goal that the best pure goal-scorers of all time do.
“Every young player looks up to Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo. I love Ibrahimović, but my idol is [Radamel] Falcao.”
-Luka Jović; source: UEFA
Whoever ends up winning the Jović sweepstakes could very well be set at the position to years to come. Can Chelsea’s fading star be shiny enough for the Serbian international? We shall find out soon enough...