Chelsea striker Ike Ugbo could leave this summer
According to Italian transfer expert Fabrizio Romano (h/t football.london), Chelsea are going to make a decision regarding the future of Ike Ugbo ‘soon’. Earlier this week, Romano himself tweeted that Ugbo was the subject of a transfer tug of war between Marseille and Genk, with the Ligue 1 side pushing for a permanent transfer.
The London-born striker has come through Chelsea’s youth academy but has found favour elsewhere when it comes to first-team football. Much like many youth players at Chelsea, Ugbo has been loaned out several times, with spells at Barnsley, MK Dons, Scunthorpe, Roda JC, and Cercle Brugge. But is this now time for the Blues to offload him permanently?
Chelsea would do just fine without Ugbo
The Blues aren’t in any dire need of a striker. Timo Werner was quite evidently Thomas Tuchel’s go-to striker last season as the German featured in all but three Premier League throughout the season.
The 25-year-old German striker was no pushover in the Bundesliga. His tally of 95 goals and 40 assists for RB Leipzig in 159 games was certainly impressive, and the Blues paid £47.6million for him just last summer.
Moreover, the arrival of Romelu Lukaku for a massive £97.5million fee is a clear indication of what the German manager wants his attack to look like next the season. For a fee like this, and considering Lukaku’s reputation as one of the top strikers in Europe right now, it is logical to think that he will lead Chelsea’s line.
Werner can either partner him in attack or can play down the left-hand side, as he has done at times throughout his career. Even if he doesn’t start alongside the Belgian, having Werner as a backup would be a welcome luxury for Tuchel. Amidst this, there is hardly any place for Ugbo in the squad.
A smart financial move
Even without Lukaku, Tuchel trusted the 34-year-old Olivier Giroud, now at AC Milan, more than even Tammy Abraham, their last season’s joint-top scorer who is now at AS Roma. If there was no place for Abraham in that squad, Ugbo would only find it tougher to break into such a set-up.
The youngster is yet to make a single senior appearance for the Blues during his entire time as a Chelsea player. Tuchel has more experienced players at his disposal, couple with versatile footballers such as Kai Havertz that can play in the centre-forward position if needed. In light of this, it’s better for the Blues to offload a player they won’t need.
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So, for a player apparently not in Tuchel’s plans and who would likely struggle for game-time, it makes complete sense for the Blues to pounce on any team’s offer willing to offer a fee for him. That is because he is in the final year of his Chelsea contract, which means that the club can risk losing him on a free if they don’t sell him this summer.