Chelsea are currently on course for a place in the top four in the Premier League in Frank Lampard’s first season in charge.
Despite what has largely been considered a foundation-building year, the Blues are only five points behind Leicester City in third and are closing in on Champions League qualification.
However, as is ever the case in the Premier League, their top-four status is not guaranteed next season. Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur will spend, Arsenal look improved under Mikel Arteta and will have a pre-season to regroup, while Manchester City, Liverpool and Leicester will not be going anywhere particularly quickly. If Chelsea stand still, they will fall behind.
In their efforts to keep pressing forwards and improving, there is one position that stands high above the rest as their greatest need: centre-forward.
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Tammy Abraham has looked bright in his first season in the Premier League for Chelsea, scoring 13 goals. He also has a healthy expected goals per 90 minutes rating of 0.61. However, his form has deteriorated as the season has progressed, and he has been struggling with an ankle injury, with Olivier Giroud starting up top in recent weeks.
Giroud, meanwhile, is 33 and has just two goals in 443 league minutes. He is excellent in general play, and his value to the team is noticeable in the spaces he opens up for those around him, but he is hardly a long-term solution for the position and has never been the most consistent goalscorer. And then there is Michy Bathsuayi, who hasn’t hit the heights expected.
It leaves Chelsea in a conundrum, and they have been linked with several striking options this summer as a result of their anticipated investment at the position. The latest name to be mentioned as a possible target is Arsenal centre-forward Pierre-Emerick…