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Mauricio Pochettino breaks silence on reported Even Ferguson interest amid Brighton’s reluctant stance



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Mauricio Pochettino has responded to speculation linking Chelsea with Brighton & Hove Albion forward Evan Ferguson.

The 19-year-old has been the subject of long-standing interest from Chelsea, according to recent reports, with the Blues eyeing a new centre-forward to bolster their front line.

Nicolas Jackson is currently away with Senegal at the African Cup of Nations, while Armando Broja is gradually finding his feet following a long lay-off after an ACL injury.

New summer signing Christopher Nkunku suffered a recent setback with a hip problem, which has left Pochettino light in attacking options.

‘(Nkunku) was the only player that was performing, of course in a different league, in Germany,” said Pochettino prior to their 1-0 win over Fulham in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge. “But consistently scoring goals. That was the situation before the start of the season.

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“When (the injury) happened, we needed to see about Broja after one year (out injured), and Jackson moving from Villarreal, where he wasn’t top scorer. The age of the players, (they are) young guys that need to adapt. That was why we felt a little bit more the hit of (losing) Nkunku.

“He was consistently scoring goals. When you miss a player like this, you hope that players that maybe came here and need time to grow and score goals, it (became) a necessity, compulsory for Jackson to score in every single touch.

“Or Broja, after one year out, needs now to play three games in a row. It’s difficult for him. It makes our job more difficult. It’s exciting this project, but situations like this make it more difficult. You have to grow at a different pace.”

Strong interest in held in Napoli striker Victor Osimhen, who has a £103 million release clause that becomes active in the summer, while Brighton are reluctant to allow Ferguson to leave.

They have already lost Marc Cucurella and Moises Caicedo in the last 18 months to Chelsea, while Levi Colwill has returned to the Blues following a season-long loan spell down on the south coast.

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However, Pochettino refused to be drawn on specific names heading into the winter break when asked about interest in Ferguson.

“You know very well I don’t talk about rumours or players that are in a different club,” Pochettino told reporters.

“I am so respectful. We are not talking. We are assessing the squad and if something happens we will communicate that to you. At the moment we didn’t take any decision.

He added: “I never said we need a centre-forward. After that creates a problem with my people. I didn’t say that yesterday (Friday) that we need. I said we are working like other clubs. Trying to assess and see the market and all of the situations that can appear. Most important is the club is ready to act in one or another direction. I never said we need to add another player.”