EXCLUSIVE: The newly crowned Premier League champions want the in-form Aston Villa striker to strengthen their front line this summer ahead of next season’s title defence


By Paul Clennam

Chelsea are set to enter the race to sign Christian Benteke this summer.

Benteke has been in sensational form for Aston Villa since the arrival of head coach Tim Sherwood, scoring 11 goals in his last nine games in all competitions.

And now Mourinho is keen to supplement his strike force with the signing of the Belgium international.

Mourinho was interested in bringing in Wilfried Bony during the January transfer window but was unable to sign both the Ivory Coast international and Juan Cuadrado and elected to push ahead with the signing of the Colombian.

That paved the way for Manchester City to complete the signing of Bony during the winter, but the Chelsea boss is determined not to miss out on Benteke.

Mourinho has been impressed by Benteke’s powerful playing style and sees him as a front man similar to Chelsea legend Didier Drogba, while at 24 he is yet to reach his prime.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is a huge admirer of Benteke and is also likely to pursue the Belgian this summer.

But Goal understands Villa will demand over €40 million for the striker and Mourinho is confident Chelsea will be able to fund a big-money deal for the striker, who would share responsibilities with Diego Costa.

Chelsea do hold some concerns around Benteke’s injury record, but Mourinho believes the club will be able to manage the 24-year-old’s workload alongside Costa.

The signing of Benteke would ease the burden on the Spain international, who has scored 19 goals in his debut Premier League season despite ongoing injury concerns which have ruled him out of Chelsea’s last five matches.

Summer signing Loic Remy has also been ruled out at various stages throughout the campaign with muscular injuries.