Sporting CP striker Viktor Gyokeres has been quizzed on the chances of Chelsea signing him and his response does not make for encouraging reading.
Chelsea have been tipped to bring Gyokeres back to English football just six months after he left Championship side Coventry City. The Sweden international earned a big move to Sporting in the summer after his old club lost the play-off final.
Gyokeres has been brilliant at the higher level in Portugal, scoring 22 goals from 25 appearances in form that has shown Premier League clubs what they might have missed out on.
Chelsea’s desire for a world-class centre-forward is well documented. Thus, they have been mentioned as one of the main candidates to sign him from Sporting, where he has a €100m (£85.8m) release clause.
There were even recent rumours that Chelsea were bidding €85m (£73m) for Gyokeres in an attempt to sign him this month.
However, Sporting head coach Ruben Amorim quickly laughed off the speculation, suggesting even a bid of that magnitude would not prise the 25-year-old out of Lisbon.
Now, Gyokeres himself has distanced himself from rumours of a move to Chelsea.
“I don’t think anything about it. I’m here and we have important games to play, I’m focused on that,” he told Sport TV after scoring a brace in a 5-2 win at Vizela on Thursday in the Primeira Liga.
“There’s a lot of talk on social media and elsewhere, but I’m not focused on that.
“I don’t think about anything else. I’m here right now. I’m 100% focused on this and the club.”
And when asked if his spell with Sporting is the best of his career yet, Gyokeres replied: “Yes, but it’s far from over.
“We can’t enjoy it too much, but it’s been good so far. We’re playing well as a team.”
Sporting currently sit top of the Primeira Liga and have also reached the knockout stage of the Europa League.
Swedish striker sticking with Sporting
Gyokeres signed a contract until 2028 when he joined them and seems to have plenty of ambitions to tick off while he is there.
TEAMtalk has also learned that Gyokeres might look for a move to a Champions League contender in mainland Europe rather than returning to English football if the time comes to change clubs again.
If he proves to be out of reach for Chelsea, other names they will be considering instead include Karim Benzema and Roberto Firmino in the short term and Victor Osimhen and Evan Ferguson in the long term.
Their top scorer so far this season has been attacking midfielder Cole Palmer with nine, one ahead of fellow summer signing Nicolas Jackson.
Jackson is currently away at the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, but is regarded as more of a long-term prospect by his club than the guaranteed focal point of their attack.
In his absence, the only natural centre-forward remaining at Chelsea is Armando Broja, but the academy graduate is being linked with a January exit.
TEAMtalk revealed on Thursday that Fulham could present a bid next week for Broja, who has also been looked at by West Ham, Wolves and Crystal Palace.
The asking price will be in the region of £35m, even though the Albania international may want to fight for his place at Chelsea.
With just three goals for the club to his name, though, he doesn’t seem to be the long-term answer either. Sooner or later, Chelsea will need to secure an elite striker from elsewhere if they want to get back towards the top of the Premier League.