Sport Soccer

Saturday 23 June 2018

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Chelsea lining up shock bid for Carroll over scoring crisis

West Ham's Andy Carroll. Photo: PA
West Ham's Andy Carroll. Photo: PA

Matt Law

Chelsea will this week increase their efforts to boost head coach Antonio Conte's striking options with a shock move for Andy Carroll still a possibility.

Conte's team became the first in Chelsea's history to chalk up three successive goalless draws in all competitions when they drew 0-0 with Leicester at Stamford Bridge.

The form and fitness of Alvaro Morata, who has now gone five games without a goal, and Eden Hazard, who has been substituted in each of the last four games he has started, is becoming a cause for concern.

Conte wanted to add a target man to his squad last summer, but saw Fernando Llorente move to Tottenham Hotspur. The need for a striker who can relieve the burden on Morata is now even more pressing, as Conte continues to make it clear he does not see Michy Batshuayi as the right man.

Sevilla want to sign Batshuayi on loan, but must wait for Chelsea to bring in a replacement and the club will intensify their efforts to find either a short-term or long-term solution.

Carroll is the surprise name on the list of strikers Chelsea have held talks over and the 29-year-old may yet prove to be the most attainable.

Exchange

West Ham, who could sell both Diafra Sakho and Javier Hernandez this month, would be interested in taking Batshuayi on a loan exchange, but even if they cannot persuade the Belgian to move to the London Stadium, the Hammers might be tempted to get Carroll, who earns £90,000 a week, off their wage bill.

Carroll has started only three games under David Moyes and wants to play more regularly - he scored twice in the recent victory over West Bromwich Albion. He missed West Ham's win over Huddersfield Town with an ankle injury and concerns over his ability to stay fit could yet put Chelsea off.

The Stamford Bridge crowd booed when Hazard was taken off in the 58th minute of Saturday's stalemate.

Despite having Ben Chilwell sent off with 22 minutes remaining, Leicester could have won after a first-half in which they had 12 shots at Chelsea's goal - the most at half-time of any visiting Premier League team since the 2003-04 season.

Riyad Mahrez was superb and manager Claude Puel is hoping the player's good form will not see him move away this month.

Puel said: "It's normal for all the best players (to be linked with transfers), but I'm not afraid about this because there's a fantastic spirit and good attitude in this squad.

"We can see he (Mahrez) is enjoying his football. He is happy with his team-mates and with us."

© Daily Telegraph, London

Telegraph.co.uk

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