Boniface set for Chelsea transfer? Osimhen demands raise Premier League eyebrows

Highly-rated Nigerian forwards Victor Osimhen and Victor Boniface are both on the radar of Premier League side Chelsea.

The Blues are currently without a recognised goal scorer, and manager Mauricio Pochettino has openly revealed his desire to bring in a striker in the summer to augment the squad.

Two names that have been linked with Chelsea are Osimhen and Boniface. Osimhen is one of the hottest forwards in the world at the moment, having led Napoli to the Serie A title last season.

The 25-year-old, who is the reigning CAF Footballer of the Year, is currently at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2024) in Ivory Coast, where he has helped Nigeria to reach the semi-finals.

Bonfice, though, is currently ruled out, which caused him to miss the AFCON, but the 23-year-old was on a great run of form before his injury, scoring 16 goals and providing eight assists this season. He is expected to be targeted by some of Europe’s elite teams in the summer, including Chelsea.

Osimhen’s wages too high for Chelsea

While Osimhen is Chelsea’s preferred first choice, there are a number of factors that could make the deal complicated.

The Nigerian forward has already indicated his readiness to leave Napoli in the summer and recently stated that he knew where he was heading next, although he was not specific.

“I already had my plan, I already know the next step I want to take. For now, I want to finish the season strong, relax with my daughter, think about my life and then come out with the decision I have already made,” he told CBS Sports Golazo in January.

Osimhen signed a new contract at Napoli in December, which saw his wages rise astronomically and also a release clause of around £112 million inserted into his contract.

The Athletic reports that Osimhen’s wage demands are considered way higher than Chelsea’s owners are ready to pay, while his huge release clause is also deemed as a bit expensive. For the Blues to sign the striker, they would have to make an exception to their current wage bill, which leaves the move for Osimhen in the balance as things stand.

Chelsea eyeing Boniface as an alternative to Osimhen

Osimhen’s high wage demands have led to Chelsea eyeing his compatriot Victor Boniface as an alternative signing in the summer.

According to The Athletic, the Blues have pencilled Boniface, who plays for German side Bayer Leverkusen, and Brentford forward Ivan Toney as other transfer targets to fill the void in their attack.

However, the report suggests Chelsea are shifting towards Boniface more, as the club has doubts over Toney's age, with the English striker set to turn 28 in March.

Meanwhile, the Blues are also said to be monitoring Brighton & Hove Albion’s Evan Ferguson, and RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko as possible summer arrivals.

Boniface is expected to return from the groin injury he suffered in April and the 23-year-old is also being tracked by Arsenal.

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Emmanuel Ayamga

Emmanuel Ayamga is an African sports writer, with bylines on DW, Al Jazeera, World Soccer Magazine and These Football Times.