Chelsea confirm first January Signing as possible replacement of Nicolas Jackson

Chelsea confirm first January Signing as possible replacement of Nicolas Jackson

 Chelsea news as Mauricio Pochettino gets long awaited confirmation of a January decision he won't like

Senegal have confirmed their squad for the 2024 African Cup of Nations and Chelsea striker Nicolas Jackson has been called up as expected. The 22-year-old has scored seven times in the Premier League this season for the Blues and is their top scorer.

Jackson is on course to be the highest scoring Chelsea player in a single season since Tammy Abraham netted 15 in 2019/20. No player has managed to match that or come close to the 20 goals of Diego Costa in both 2014/15 or 2016/17 in the past seven years despite lavish funds being spent on new attackers.

The former Villarreal man only arrived at Stamford Bridge earlier this year having played most of his career as a winger. His move into central areas coincided with a stunning run of form towards the back of last season though and saw Chelsea pounce on him after Bournemouth backed out of a deal in January due to injury problems.

Jackson's rise has meant he is now a regular in Aliou Cisse's national side but has only played five times since his debut at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Heading into AFCON 2024, set to be held in Ivory Coast, he is one of the younger players in an experienced side looking to defend their title.

Led by former Chelsea duo Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy last time out Senegal are coming off the back of a last-16 finish at the World Cup where they lost 3-0 to England in the knockout stages. Jackson was some way off the team at that stage but will now be looking to force his way into the starting XI more regularly.

Leicester midfielder Nampalys Mendy and Everton's Idrissa Gana Gueye are also included with other standout names being Cheikhou Kouyate, Pape Matar Sarr, Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr and Iliman Ndiaye. Jackson was always expected to be in the squad and has now had confirmation.

The tournament could see the Chelsea striker miss five games in January including both legs of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Middlesbrough as well as a trip to Liverpool at the end of the month and the FA Cup third round clash vs Preston. If Senegal and Jackson get to the final then he will also miss the visit of Wolves and an away meeting against Crystal Palace.

Depending on his travel it could see him miss out against Manchester City on February 17 too but that would be nearly one week after the tournament ends. For the Blues it will leave a big hole regardless of Jackson's profligate nature this season.

Despite a respectable eight goals in all competitions he has a memorable and unwanted collection of misses and blunders to his name as well. Jackson also has a poor discipline record having been booked eight times in just 15 league starts.

He has, outside of his goals, linked with most of the attackers around him including Cole Palmer and more recently Christopher Nkunku. It is the return of the Frenchman from injury that may well mean Chelsea withhold from dipping into the transfer market for a new striker as well as complications over signing Ivan Toney and the matter of Victor Osimhen signing a new contract last week.

Chelsea have been looking for a more established and readymade forward to add to their squad next month and Pochettino has made no attempt to hide this fact when speaking publicly either. The availability of such a player in January is no certainty though and Chelsea are not in a position to risk yet more money.

For now it seems that a mixture of Nkunku and academy graduate Armando Broja will be tasked with filling in for Jackson. Broja has scored just once since coming back from over nine months out with injury. He is still building up fitness and sharpness but has started two of the past five games.

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