side Chelsea have joined the race for the signature of Nigerian striker, Victor Boniface, from Bayer Leverkusen, reports
The 23-year-old scored 17 goals in 51 games during one season with Belgian club Union SG before completing a move to Leverkusen last summer for around €20m and he has since continued his prolific form with Xabi Alonso’s side, recording 16 goals and eight assists in 23 appearances for Leverkusen across all competitions.
The Nigerian has scored one-fifth of Leverkusen’s goals in this season’s German top-flight to help Alonso’s men climb to the summit at the halfway stage, boasting a four-point lead over perennial winners Bayern Munich in second place.
Leverkusen are currently having to cope without the presence of Boniface, who is facing up to three months on the sidelines with a groin injury, forcing him to also miss the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.
Although Boniface is under contract at the BayArena until the summer of 2028, there has been speculation about a possible exit for the striker at some stage this year amid interest from the Premier League.
West Ham United have been strongly linked with a move for Boniface in recent weeks and are allegedly prepared to break their transfer record to lure the striker to the London Stadium.
The Hammers could potentially have an advantage in negotiations with Leverkusen due to the connections sporting director Tim Steidten has with his former colleagues at the German club.
Fellow London side Arsenal have also been credited with an interest in Boniface, with a recent report claiming that the Gunners have made an enquiry regarding his availability while Italian side Napoli have also been credited with an interest.
According to Football Insider, Chelsea are the latest club to register an interest in the striker, although a January swoop is not on the cards.
Leverkusen are said to have no interest in letting Boniface leave in January, but the Bundesliga leaders may soften their stance on letting him leave for a suitable price during the summer transfer window.
Chelsea have been tipped to sign a new centre-forward for some time, and speculation has intensified amid uncertainty over the long-term future of Armando Broja.
It is understood that the Blues are prepared to part ways with Broja and have lowered their asking price for the 22-year-old from £50m to £35m.
As well as Boniface, Chelsea have been linked with a number of other strikers including Napoli’s Victor Osimhen, Brentford’s Ivan Toney, Sporting Lisbon’s Viktor Gyokeres and Aston Villa’s Jhon