Glen Johnson believes Chelsea should strengthen their attack in January.
It’s so far been an underwhelming Premier League campaign for the six-time English champions, who installed Mauricio Pochettino as manager this past summer.
After their opening 12 matches, Chelsea sit 10th having won four times while losing the same amount of games. Overall the Blues have scored 21 goals, the second-fewest (behind Manchester United, 13) of those placed above 11th place.
But no fewer than eight were scored in Chelsea’s last two outings — 4-1 win over Tottenham and 4-4 draw with Manchester City — and summer acquisition Nicolas Jackson was responsible for half of those strikes.
“The hat-trick against Tottenham would have helped Jackson massively, even if it was against nine men, that would have given him huge confidence,” Johnson told Squawka.
“He’s always worked hard and even when he wasn’t scoring he was threatening, so now it’s about kicking on and showing us that he can be a top striker.”
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Jackson was fast-tracked to spearhead Chelsea’s attack after marquee forward signing Christopher Nkunku sustained a serious knee injury during pre-season.
Johnson, who became the first Chelsea purchase under the ownership of Roman Abramovich, feels patience is required once the Frenchman returns.
“Nkunku is going to have to earn the shirt and will have to be patient,” he added
“He’s been out for a long time and he will have to show the manager why he should start. We know he’s a good player and he may well take the shirt back in time, but you can’t just drop a goalscoring striker in form because a player’s come back from injury.”
Nevertheless, the former defender feels it’s a position that the Blues can bolster with Brentford striker Ivan Toney as an option.
Toney bagged 20 goals across 33 outings for the Bees in English football’s top division last term but is currently serving an eight-month FA ban — which ends on 17 January 2024 — after being found to have breached their betting rules.
“I really like Ivan Toney and think he’d be great for Chelsea,” he said.
“Of course in Jackson and Nkunku they have two very good options, so they don’t need to run out and pay massively over the odds, but if the right deal comes along, it’s something they should absolutely explore.”
Toney, who Brentford value at £80m, isn’t the only alternative being linked as there are reports Napoli striker Victor Osimhen wants to join. However club president Aurelio De Laurentiis is unlikely to sell him in January.
Osimhen’s stock rose last season when he bagged 26 goals enough to win the Capocannoniere — a prize Romelu Lukaku, on loan at Roma from Chelsea, is keen to win this season and Johnson feels Italy suits the Belgian marksman.
“Lukaku is an absolute goal machine, but I just don’t think he was right for the Premier League,” he noted. “He’s obviously so big and strong and a beast in front of goal, but sometimes the game would fly past him a bit.
“His time at Chelsea was often him trying to get too involved in the play, dropping deep and trying to link up play, instead of just being a dangerous front man who was there to score goals. In Italy he’s going to get a bit more time on the ball and when you give him that he’s absolutely lethal.”