CHELSEA’S search for a new striker could force them to turn to Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke after it emerged Edin Dzeko has no interest in joining them.
The Roma forward emerged as a serious target for Antonio Conte on Thursday.
Blues were reportedly plotting a £57million swoop for the ex-Manchester City man, but the star’s agent insists he wants to stay in Italy.
His representative Irfan Redzepagic told Roma Giallorossa: “No, I don’t know anything about this.
“I have no information to that effect. Dzeko is already a Roma player, you know that.
“Look, every time we talk about Dzeko the names of clubs like Chelsea, Chinese clubs, Mexican clubs come up. These are just rumours.
“The truth is that Dzeko wants to stay at Roma.
“Have I spoken to Conte or Chelsea? My role means I can’t reveal certain transfer market dynamics. I understand the question, but I have a very specific role.
“All I can say is that Conte likes Dzeko. But then who doesn’t like Edin?”
Chelsea are desperate to bring in a striker before the end of the month and had lined-up West Ham’s Andy Carroll before injury struck the towering frontman and ruled him out for months.
Conte is also considering a shock loan move for either Stoke City’s Peter Crouch or Tottenham’s Fernando Llorente, who he tried to sign last summer.
But both of those swoops are expected to be rejected by each player’s respective clubs.
And that leaves Christian Benteke as a serious target for the Premier League champions, according to the Daily Mail.
The Belgian, 27, has only scored once in the top-flight this season and cost Palace £27m, which could rise to £32m, from Liverpool in August 2016.
He is one of the biggest earners at Selhurst Park and Roy Hodgson could be tempted to cash in and allow the out of form ex-Aston Villa man to leave.
That would free up funds for him to bring in additional reinforcements for his Eagles squad.