Nicolas Jackson, the talented Senegalese forward, has a notable release clause of €35m (£30.1m) embedded in his contract with Villarreal.
This clause has caught the attention of several clubs, including Bournemouth, who reached an agreement to secure his services in January. However, the transfer fell through as Jackson failed his medical examination due to a hamstring issue.
Nonetheless, his on-field performance last season showcased his prowess, with 13 goals in 38 games, surpassing the goal tallies of Chelsea’s current forwards.
Given their desire to revamp their attacking options, Chelsea has identified Jackson as a primary target during the summer transfer window. The club has already secured the signing of Christopher Nkunku from RB Leipzig and aims to further bolster their forward line.
Jackson’s consistent performances have made him an attractive prospect for the London club. While personal terms are not expected to pose a problem, his release clause remains a significant factor in any potential transfer.
Throughout the previous season, Jackson demonstrated his abilities by scoring 13 goals and providing five assists for Villarreal in various competitions.
As the anticipation builds, an official announcement confirming his move to Stamford Bridge is anticipated in the upcoming days.
Chelsea’s urgent requirement for a new No. 9 stems from their struggle to find consistent goal-scoring options, as the last striker to score 20 goals in a season for the club was Diego Costa, six years ago.
Chelsea’s goal-scoring woes were particularly evident last season, as no player managed to exceed nine goals. This contributed to their disappointing 12th-place finish in the Premier League and intensified the club’s determination to reinforce their attacking line.
The acquisition of Nicolas Jackson is seen as a crucial step towards rectifying this issue and revitalizing Chelsea’s potency in front of goal.
Regrettably, Nicolas Jackson may not be the high-profile name that many Chelsea supporters were anticipating this summer.
At the age of 22, he only earned a permanent place in Villarreal’s first team last season, and his failed medical prevented a move to Bournemouth in January.
Considering his relatively modest record of three goals in his initial 18 LaLiga appearances last season, it is unlikely that Chelsea would have pursued Jackson during the previous transfer window.
However, he experienced a remarkable surge in form towards the end of the season, scoring an impressive nine goals in his final eight matches, which significantly contributed to Villarreal’s qualification for the Europa League.
During the 2022/23 campaign, Jackson’s performance stood out when compared to Chelsea’s existing group of forwards. He topped the charts in terms of goals scored and big chances converted per 90 minutes.
However, it’s worth noting that none of Chelsea’s forwards met expectations last season, and when examining Jackson’s statistics for possession wins and completed passes, he falls short in comparison to the attacking players already present at Stamford Bridge.
Therefore, it would be unfair to place the burden solely on Jackson to immediately resolve Chelsea’s scoring issues upon his arrival. It wouldn’t be surprising if the club continues its pursuit of another No. 9 during this transfer window.
Instead, it would be more prudent to take a long-term perspective on Jackson’s potential.
His impressive goal-scoring run last season showcased his abilities, but his lack of experience at the highest level and areas in need of improvement suggest that both Mauricio Pochettino and Chelsea fans should exercise patience with his development.