Chelsea may rue Boehly failure as star shines for Champions League minnows

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Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly might have harboured some regret if he watched summer target Elye Wahi shine for new club Lens in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Wahi was one of very few players to turn down a reported £30million move to the Blues ahead of the campaign, and his form in France might leave many at Stamford Bridge ruing the failure to lure him to West London. 

Wahi struck 19 goals for Montpellier across all competitions last season. His form caught the attention of several top European clubs, including Chelsea. 

Back in the summer, Chelsea were desperate to address the scoring issues that plagued their 2022-23 campaign. The Blues scored just 38 times in as many Premier League matches. 

Nicolas Jackson was signed in a £30m switch from Villarreal. But it is widely believed that the Stamford Bridge hierarchy wanted another No 9, with Wahi among the targets for the position. 

The 20-year-old ultimately decided to reject an offer from Chelsea and joined Lens. A desire to play in the Champions League was paramount.

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Wahi has since enjoyed a decent start to life at his new club. Despite scoring just once in seven Ligue 1 matches, he has bagged twice in three Champions League group stage fixtures. The France U21 starlet scored the equaliser in Lens’ 1-1 draw with PSV on Tuesday.

Seeing a summer target impress for another club might frustrate Chelsea chiefs. A transfer policy designed to acquire the best young talent failed in this instance, with Wahi not convinced by the project. 

“Chelsea – I didn’t want to go there just for the sake of it,” Wahi brutally reflected recently. 

“Frankfurt was close, more so than Chelsea. I spoke with the manager (Dino Toppmoller) there. He speaks French and that was important for me. They had to wait for Randal Kolo Muani’s departure and waiting for it was too complicated. I don’t have any regrets.”

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Chelsea’s strikers have continued to struggle in front of goal. Jackson, 22, has scored just two Premier League goals. Mauricio Pochettino’s stars have instead shared the scoring burden, with nine players already on the scoresheet this term. 

A January pursuit of a new centre-forward could be high on Chelsea’s agenda. Ivan Toney has been linked and a deal could be accelerated once the Brentford attacker has completed his ban from football on January 16. 

Victor Osimhen is another option for the Blues. It is likely that a move for the Napoli target man would need to wait until next summer.

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