Former Southampton striker David Connolly told talkSPORT over the weekend that Thomas Tuchel will look to keep Tammy Abraham at Chelsea this summer, but his comments may prove to be a blessing for West Ham United and David Moyes.
Abraham has been touted as a potential target for the London Stadium natives ahead of the next transfer window, with the Daily Mail and Daily Star both citing the England striker as an option to fill Sebastien Haller’s void.
Connolly believes West Ham “would love” to have Abraham in their ranks next season if a deal is on the table, as the 23-year-old would allow Moyes to be less reliant on Michail Antonio.
Moyes is claimed to be driving West Ham’s interest in Abraham as he looks to add a young, hungry and homegrown option who can rival Antonio, having relied on the centre-forward to start 90% of all available Premier League games this term.
It remains to be seen if Chelsea would be willing to sell to a potential rival for a top-four position, but Connolly believes a deal is unlikely to develop.
“West Ham would love him,” he said. “They need another striker. They’re very reliant on Michail Antonio, but I can’t see Chelsea selling Tammy Abraham.”
Abraham has only started three of his five appearances across all competitions under Tuchel to date and was omitted from the matchday squad that lost 5-2 at home to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
Connolly suspects the decision was Tuchel wanting to see a response from Abraham, who is Chelsea’s top-scorer this season with 12 goals in 30 games across all competitions.
“Whether Tuchel wants a response… some managers might just want a response,” he added. “Maybe he needs to do a bit more in training as well.
“You just hope he’s not spitting his dummy out because he’s not involved and that he’s showing the right attitude. This might be him sitting on the naughty step for a little bit.”
Abraham has not featured for Chelsea since the end of February when taken off at half-time against Southampton and had been struggling with an ankle injury, but was left out of the squad last weekend through a tactical decision.
Connolly fearing that his latest omission may be a sign of the £36m-rated striker “spitting his dummy out” may see that Tuchel denying Abraham a move could be a blessing for Moyes and West Ham.
That’s because reports by Football Insider last month claimed that Tuchel has doubts over Abraham’s ability to lead the Blues’ attack at home and in Europe, but added that some of the German’s backroom team also have concerns over his attitude.
Taking on a temperamental striker may not be what’s best for West Ham next season or in the long-term, especially with Abraham said to feel he deserves a contract worth more than £120,000-a-week given his efforts over the past two seasons.
Terms in that region would make Abraham the top-earner at the London Stadium per Spotrac figures, a route they could be reluctant to take having given Haller the most lucrative deal at £115k-p/w only to part ways 18-months after his club-record £45m arrival.
Abraham has a track record for scoring in the Premier League with 21 goals in 54 games over the past two seasons, it just remains to be seen if the reasons behind Tuchel’s position will also block a move across the capital this summer.