Chelsea have decided against extending Gonzalo Higuain’s loan spell at the club according to reports.
The Argentine forward arrived from Juventus in January on a deal until the end of the season, though Chelsea have the option to extend for a further 12 months for a fee of £15.7m or buy him outright for £31.6m.
The 31-year-old has struggled to replicate his once prolific form during his time in English football, scoring just five goals in 21 appearances since arriving at Stamford Bridge.
Manager Maurizio Sarri had been keen to reunite with a player he worked with at Napoli, though Higuain has failed to adapt to the physicality and demands of the Premier League.
According to the Daily Mail, Chelsea will send the former Real Madrid player back to Juventus with the club reluctant to invest in the forward after his disappointing spell.
With Higuain set to return to Italy, Chelsea will have just Olivier Giroud remaining as a forward option from their squad last season.
The Frenchman’s contract was set to expire at the end of the season, though the Blues are set to trigger a one-year option to extend his deal, despite interest from Ligue 1 side Nice.
Chelsea’s recruitment plans are currently on hold, with FIFA having upheld a two-window transfer ban placed on the club for breaking the rules regarding the signing of foreign U18 players, though the club will be appealing the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Star player Eden Hazard has occasionally be utilised in a central forward role, however, the Belgian looks set for a summer move to Real Madrid having reportedly informed the club on his desire to leave. Hazard is entering the final year of his contract, with Chelsea ready to sanction a sale rather than lose the 28-year-old for free next summer.
With the club unable to register new players, Chelsea’s forward options may be boosted by the return of loan players.
£60m signing Alvaro Morata spent the second half of last season at Atletico Madrid after failing to impress Sarri, though the Spanish side are believed to reluctant to spend the extra fee to extend his stay and the 26-year-old may return to Stamford Bridge.
Belgian international Michy Batshuayi is currently on his third loan spell away, having failed to hold down a regular position since joining Chelsea in 2016. Batshuayi enjoyed a decent spell at Crystal Palace, who want to extend his stay, though could return to compete alongside Giroud.
Sarri’s third option could be the return of academy graduate Tammy Abraham. The twice-capped England international has scored prolifically in the Championship for Aston Villa, scoring 26 goals for Dean Smith’s side who have reached the play-off final.
Abraham struggled in his previous spell in the Premier League with Swansea, and it remains to be seen whether Sarri would like to include the youngster in his first-team squad.
Should Villa earn promotion later this month, they are believed to be readying a £25m bid for the 21-year-old who has become a firm fans’ favourite at Villa Park.