Chelsea close in on the signing of Croatian hot-shot Kramaric

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The talk refuses to go away about Chelsea opening negotiations with Rijeka over the January signing of Andrej Kramaric, with the Croatian side reportedly keen to offload in the window and avoid losing the striker for nothing in the summer.

Despite the fact that Didier Drogba showed that he still had it this week, netting his 50th goal in European football against Schalke, the Blues’ striking arsenal is thin on numbers.

And with Diego Costa’s well-documented problems and age not on Drogba’s side Jose Mourinho could be looking to bolster his squad in the upcoming window.

Their 23-year-old target has been in flying form this season, scoring 27 goals in 26 games, in turn earning his first senior cap for Croatia, in a game he scored in, and has since been a mainstay in the Euro 2016 qualification campaign.

Chelsea are likely to have to shell out £8m for the player, a risk considering he has yet to prove himself in any of the continent’s elite leagues.

Nevertheless, with 15 clubs reported to be in for Kramaric, it could be a risk worth taking in order to make sure he doesn’t end up in the hands of one of their rivals.

The Evening Standard reported this week that the former Dinamo Zagreb man’s father travelled to London at the weekend to begin talks with the Blues.

Although no official word has come out of the west London club, it looks like they are all but there in their quest for his signature.

Pierpaolo Marino, director at Italian club Atalanta, who are also in the race appears to have thrown in the towel: “We have followed Kramaric for a long time, but I think he is about to sign a contract with Chelsea.”

And despite the risks attached with splashing a relatively high fee, the striker’s natural goalscoring instinct was demonstrated with aplomb as he graduated through the ranks in the Croatian capital.

Scoring over 450 goals at various age groups, he is the clubs record goalscorer at youth level, so clearly has the raw ability, and could prove a shrewd bit of business for the current Premier League leaders.


All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.