Chelsea battling Atletico Madrid to sign Lukaku-like Stoke youngster Sankoh

Getty Images

Chelsea are competing with Atletico Madrid to sign Stoke City youngster Mohamed Sankoh, who has been likened to Romelu Lukaku.

Sankoh is arguably the hottest property in the Championship club's academy as the Dutch forward has fired nine goals and provided nine assists at Under-18 level this season.

Both Chelsea and Atletico have had talks with the 16-year-old, who won the European Under-17 Championship with the Netherlands in 2019 alongside Chelsea's Ian Maatsen.

The youngster, whose physical attributes and prolific strike-rate have prompted comparisons to former Chelsea forward Lukaku, is also eligible to represent Sierra Leone.

Sankoh signed for Stoke from Sparta Rotterdam in 2018, alongside his brother Abdul, having featured for the Dutch side as a youth player.

Stoke are currently in 17th place in the Championship and are facing a third consecutive season in the division after being relegated from the Premier League two years ago.

As a result, Stoke will see their parachute payments from relegation reduced to around 20 per cent in year three as the club will benefit less from their former Premier League status.

If Sankoh were to head to Chelsea, he would represent the latest addition to the academy after a busy recruitment drive in recent months as the Blues have added to their ranks at the youth level.

Chelsea beat Juventus and Inter to sign HJK Helsinki youngster Jimi Tauriainen in March, with the highly-rated teenager set to join up with the club on July 1.

Alongside Finland's Under-16s captain, the Blues have secured more Nordic signings in recent months like Tauriainen's fellow Finnish youngster Lucas Bergstrom, Norwegian talent Bryan Fiabema and Edwin Andersson from Sweden.

Chelsea have also retained much of their best young talent following Frank Lampard's push to use youngsters in his first team, having given eight debuts this season.

Article continues below

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, Reece James, Fikayo Tomori, Billy Gilmour, Armando Broja, Ian Maatsen and Jamie Cumming have all signed new deals this season on the heels of the club's youth-heavy shift in focus.

Alongside that, Tino Anjorin has agreed terms with the Blues, who are set to announce a new contract for their latest talent soon.

Chelsea are also looking at renewing deals for Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud, while cautiously looking at the transfer market with uncertainty remaining in the game due amid the coronavirus outbreak.