LONDON: Chelsea have added West Bromwich Albion's Saido Berahino to their list of striker targets and are considering a pounds 20 million bid in January.
Berahino has emerged as one of the strikers on Chelsea's new year shortlist as the Premier League champions prepare to strengthen their squad. With Radamel Falcao expected to depart Stamford Bridge when the transfer window reopens, Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, is planning to recruit at least one striker and there is support behind a move to sign Berahino.
The England Under-21 international has been identified as a poten-tial signing as he will have only 18 months left on his contract in -January, while he will also increase Chelsea's quota of home-grown players. Berahino has proven he can score goals in the Premier League, registering 14 last season and 20 in all competitions.
Falcao's loan deal from Monaco is set to be scrapped after a disappointing spell for the Colombia international and Mourinho will be backed with funds after an abysmal first half of the season.
Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain, Paris St-Germain's Edinson Cavani and Alexandre Lacazette, of Lyon, are all likely to be targets but Berahino is understood to be on the Chelsea radar. The Albion forward was at the centre of one of the summer's transfer sagas after a lengthy pursuit by Tottenham Hotspur, with Jeremy Peace, the West Brom chairman, rejecting four bids from the north London club.
Berahino, 22, also submitted a transfer request in a bid to force a move and after the fourth Spurs offer was turned down on deadline day, he tweeted that he would never play for Peace again.
The forward has since been reintegrated into Tony Pulis's squad, scoring three goals this -season, but now seems certain to be the subject of renewed speculation in January.
Spurs remain keen on a deal, despite the bad blood that exists between Peace and Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, while Manchester United could also be interested. West Brom valued Berahino at more than pounds 25 million in the summer, becoming increasingly frustrated with the structure of Spurs' offers, and will again be reluctant sellers.
Peace is notoriously opposed to doing deals in January, insisting earlier this year it was "a difficult time to do business", and selling Berahino could be a risk if the club is still facing a relegation battle.
The chances of Berahino signing a new contract are remote at best and there have been no serious talks over extending his stay at The Hawthorns. With that in mind, Albion recognise that Berahino's value will decrease and an offer of around pounds 20 million could force their hand, and enable Pulis to strengthen his own squad with the money.
Chelsea's struggles have been one of the surprises of the season so far, with Mourinho only three points above the relegation zone and 15 behind leaders Manchester City.
Mourinho has only secured three league wins and the club's defence of the Capital One Cup is already over after they were knocked out on penalties by Stoke City last month.