Chelsea eye surprise move for Aston Villa striker Jhon Duran

Jhon Duran of Aston Villa shoots during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Middlesbrough F.C. and Aston Villa at Riverside Stadium on January 06, 2024 in Middlesbrough, England
Duran joine Villa from Chicago Fire in January 2023 - Getty Images/Clive Brunskill

Chelsea hold a legitimate interest in Aston Villa striker Jhon Duran and are considering making a surprise bid for the Colombia international before the closure of the January transfer window.

Villa are already believed to have rejected an enquiry to take Duran on loan from West Ham United and now Chelsea are weighing up making an offer of their own.

Reports in Colombia have claimed Chelsea’s interest has intensified and Telegraph Sport understands Duran is a name under careful consideration with a week remaining until the window shuts.

Duran only joined Villa last January in a deal worth up to £18 million and the 20-year-old has been a deputy to first-choice striker Ollie Watkins.

Despite scoring four goals, two of which have come in the Premier League, this season and making 35 appearances in total, Duran is understood to be keen on getting more opportunities.

Whether Chelsea could provide him with more playing time would remain to be seen, given Duran would be cup tied for the Carabao Cup and FA Cup, and the Blues have Christopher Nkunku returning from injury and Nicolas Jackson due back from the Africa Cup of Nations.

Jhon Duran of Aston Villa reacts towards teammate Ollie Watkins during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Aston Villa at Goodison Park on January 14, 2024 in Liverpool, England
Duran has served as deputy to Ollie Watkins for most of his Villa career thus far - Getty Images/Matt McNulty

Villa have seen two bids rejected by Middlesbrough for forward Morgan Rogers, who scored against Chelsea on Tuesday night, and may allow Duran to leave if they can secure a replacement.

While Duran is undoubtedly talented, he is still extremely raw and has earned four bookings in his 14 League appearances so far this season, averaging a yellow card every 43 minutes.

Any firm Chelsea move for Duran may well rest on whether or not Armando Broja, who is thought to have interested Villa, leaves Stamford Bridge during the final week of the transfer window.

Broja has netted twice this season for Chelsea, who value the Albania international at over £50 million. It remains to be seen whether or not that asking price drops, with West Ham United, Fulham and Wolves all interested but unable or unwilling to pay such a big fee.

It is expected there will be a late flurry of transfer activity towards the end of the window, with midfielder Conor Gallagher’s future still unclear and Chelsea willing to allow Trevoh Chalobah to leave.

Chelsea host Villa in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday night, when Duran will be expected to play some part in the tie.

Given his age and relatively low wages, Duran would fit the profile of signings under Chelsea’s Behdad Eghbali-Todd Boehly control more than Karim Benzema, who is being offered to clubs on loan until the end of the season.

Benzema is said to be unhappy in Saudi Arabia, but the 36-year-old’s enormous wages would be a huge hurdle to overcome and it is not a deal that currently suits Chelsea, with Lyon interested in re-signing the former Real Madrid star.

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