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Why Chelsea’s move for £30m Nicolas Jackson shows positive step in recruitment process at Stamford Bridge



(Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Chelsea are closing in on the signing of Villarreal’s 21-year-old forward Nicolas Jackson, according to reports.

The move comes as Mauricio Pochettino identified the number nine position as a priority this summer, and it looks like the Argentine has got his first signing of his reign.

While Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez has also been heavily linked, along with the likes of Victor Osimhen and Harry Kane, Jackson looks to be the first to come through the door.

Chelsea usually go big in the striker market, as has been seen with the previous club-record fee of £97.5 million to sign Romelu Lukaku, while Kai Havertz cost the Blues around £70 million, a year prior, in 2020.

Jackson, on the other hand, will cost less than £30 million, with his release clause around £29.8 million, as the Blues look to negotiate a deal for the 21-year-old.

The move may be an underwhelming one for some of Chelsea’s biggest fans, with previous interest in Jackson coming from the likes of AFC Bournemouth and Aston Villa.

However, the transfer is one to be quietly excited about as Chelsea’s new recruitment team are taking a different approach to that which has failed in the past.

Chelsea’s previous approach of ‘go big or go home’ with the likes of Lukaku and others clearly didn’t work in the long run, with the club currently struggling to offload the Belgian on a permanent basis.

READ MORE: Why Romelu Lukaku is ‘annoyed’ at Chelsea after Inter Milan transfer decision

Yes, the club could have gone out and splashed another £100 million to bring in a more experienced young striker like Osimhen, but the same risks would remain.

Instead, the Blues have put a scouting structure in place to intercept these youngsters before they become the next big thing in European football.

Chelsea were aware of Osimhen during his days at Genk and Lille but never made a move for the forward, who is now one of the most in demand in world football.

While La Liga’s release clause laws have helped Chelsea get Jackson for cheap, there is no doubt that the Senegal international would have seen his value sky-rocket over the coming seasons.

Having netted 12 goals in 26 La Liga appearances last season, Jackson was on fire towards the end of the campaign as he became Villarreal’s go-to man in attack.

At just 21 years of age, there is plenty of room for Pochettino to mould the forward into his ideal number nine over the next few years, while also allowing Chelsea’s fellow youngsters in attack to depart for first-team football.

David Datro Fofana arrived in January and never really got a fair shot at Stamford Bridge, and while it is clear that the natural quality is there, a loan move will be hoped to bring the best out of the forward.

Armando Broja is returning from a long-term injury and it would be unwise to throw the forward into the action straight away.

There is also recent interest from Brighton & Hove Albion to consider as Chelsea look to prise away Moises Caicedo in the process, so signing Jackson could open up a potential player swap option with the Seagulls.

The Blues could still look to bring in a more recognised striker this window, but with other clubs becoming aware of Jackson’s potential, they have moved quickly to secure the signature and will be pleased to do so.

Perhaps we could see a similar situation to when the Blues had both Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi at Stamford Bridge, with Jackson taking up the role of the former.

It didn’t end too badly with two top strikers in the past, with the Blues going on to win the Premier League and FA Cup with the pair as forward options.

History has shown that Chelsea’s signings in the region of £30 million are usually a success, with the likes of Eden Hazard, Willian, Diego Costa, N’Golo Kante and, more recently, Benoit Badiashile costing just over this.

The Blues will be hoping that Jackson can become as much of a success as those previously mentioned.