Chelsea exclusive: Mauricio Pochettino holds talks with Boehly to lay groundwork for English striker signing

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Chelsea will return to the transfer market for a striker when the January window opens after a slow start to the season.

Chelsea are leading the race to sign Brentford’s suspended forward Ivan Toney, with moves being made behind the scenes for a chance of getting him in January.

The Blues have spent close to a billion pounds under the new owner but there remains the need for a proven goal scorer at the highest level.

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Mauricio Pochettino’s side turned down a chance to sign Dusan Vlahovic after the price Juventus were demanding became apparent. Instead, they have put their faith in Nicolas Jackson and the more experienced Raheem Sterling.

Sterling has two goals in four games, while Jackson has one. With Chelsea needing to get back into the top four and competing for big titles, there has been the need to hold talks and find a new centre forward.

LondonWorld sources say Toney is Pochettino’s ideal choice as he is English, at the right age and proven in the Premier League.

Despite the talks behind the scenes, Pochettino has consistently backed forwards and reminded fans not to forget the returning Armando Broja.

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He said: “I think it’s good. No bigger than we have now. We can add some players but not many. This number of 22, 23 players I think is perfect at the moment.

“At the same time, we are keeping an eye on Armando Broja because I think we cannot forget him. We cannot stop him by bringing a profile of a player that could stop his evolution.

“We really believe in him, he can be a really important strike for Chelsea. We need to be careful.”

Ivan Toney has scored a total of 68 goals for Brentford and has changed his agents in a bid to secure a move.

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Toney’s ban

Toney, 27, was banned for eight months for breaking Football Association betting rules - including betting against his own team. A psychiatry expert who gave evidence to the FA’s regulatory commission diagnosed Toney with a gambling addiction and concluded he needed help.

As a result, the commission reduced an 11-month sanction by three months. Brentford are aware he’s changed agents and is angling for a move with Chelsea and other Premier League clubs chasing.

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