Over the course of this season Chelsea’s midfield has done a sterling job of covering up for the fact that their strike force has woefully under-performed.
Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o have managed to muster just 16 goals in the Premier League between them, a figure that Liverpool’s Luis Suarez has achieved almost twice over single-handedly.
It is a recurrent theme in recent times for the Greater London club who, after three seasons of expecting so much more from Torres, are in desperate need of a forward to fill the hole that was once so exceptionally exploited by Didier Drogba.
It probably didn’t help the collective confidence of the Chelsea strike trio when Jose Mourinho was secretly recorded slating them – stating that he had a front line that couldn’t find the back of the net. Since then only Demba Ba has offered any sort of glimmer of potency up top, scoring two goals in his last two appearances.
If Mourinho’s men are serious about challenging for the Premier League title as well as the Champions League on a regular basis then owning a thirty goal a season hit-man is imperative. He may have scored the goal that has taken them into the Champions League semi-final, but Ba is in no way Chelsea’s answer to the likes of Real Madrid’s Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo or PSG’S very own footballing wizard Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
So then, if this is going to be the season that Torres finally gets put out of his misery – who should be Mourinho’s marquee summer signing? The use of the word ‘should’ as opposed to ‘will’ is quite deliberate here; Chelsea’s style of play is heavily influential on whether a striker will be successful or not, and therefore Mourinho should refrain from buying any old front-man just because of having a healthy scoring record in a different set-up. In other words, Chelsea need a target man.
They need Someone who has the strength and tenacity to hold the ball up and lay it off, but also a forward who has the confidence as well as the pace and aggression to run at defenders; they need Didier Drogba Mark II. Here are the five Centre Forwards that would go some way towards filling the void left behind by the Ivorian juggernaut:
The recently converted Spanish hit-man has been this seasons surprise package with 26 goals in La Liga and 34 in all competitions for Atletico Madrid. Costa is renowned for having an explosive turn of pace and, at times, an overly aggressive nature.
Perhaps, though, and most importantly is his ability to drive at the opposition defence and bully his way through on goal, which is most definitely something Chelsea have lacked since Drogba and Torres has lacked since leaving Liverpool. A £35m figure has already been reportedly mentioned between the two clubs, however, the deal could well be eclipsed by the mighty spending power of Monaco and an offer of a tax-free salary.
Monaco FC’s recent interest in Diego Costa has caused the Radamel Falcao rumour mill to start spinning once more, and yet again he has fallen straight back onto Chelsea’s radar. Falcao is perhaps more of a clinical finisher than Costa and even more adept at holding up the ball and spraying it left and right.
Falcao’s aerial ability would surely be a perfect match for the Blues, as Chelsea’s tactical approach heavily relies on the front-man bringing the ball down and feeding players such as Hazard, Oscar, Willian and Schuurle in on goal. Unfortunately, though, Falcao poses a high risk factor for Mourinho as he has spent most of the campaign sidelined with a serious knee injury. Torres was signed by Chelsea for £50m after returning from a similar injury and look how that has turned out.
Mandzukic is an interesting one to say the least. He has played a pivotal role in Bayern Munich’s success this season, and yet he has never really won the fans or, more importantly, the manager over. The towering Yugoslavian has always seemed like a short term solution to a problem that has now been resolved by the signing of Robert Lewandowski.
Oh well, Bayern’s loss would most definitely be Chelsea’s gain (unless Arsenal pull off something miraculous). He is a big game player with the ability to hold up play and draw an entire back line towards him, thus enabling the onrushing midfield to run in behind. He has 25 goals in all competitions, as well as 4 assists and Impressively, yet, is the fact that he has the highest shot accuracy percentage of any striker in Europe, at 71% – even the great Leo Messi can only manage 66%. What’s more, Chelsea have the second highest shots per game ratio in the Premier League at 17.4. Bringing the big man to the Bridge would be a stroke of genius as it would surely signal the start of absolute goal-fest for the Greater London side.
The chance of this happening is almost non-existent, but it is a nice idea, nonetheless. The 185cm ballet-dancing bulldozer has formed an entente with Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo this season that has yielded 86 goals in all competitions, 23 of which coming from the Frenchman.
Therefore, Carlo Ancelotti would be a little bit mad to want to sell the Centre Forward this summer. However, for the sake of Benzema’s potential talents, moving to Stamford Bridge would be an absolute blessing, as all the while that Ronaldo and Bale are at Real, Benzema will never reach world class status. He is a player that, to get the absolute best out of, needs to be the focal point at the top of the pitch driving the team towards goal. He has pace, finishing, incredible ball control and a intuitive eye for an assist on goal – setting up 44 in his last three seasons. What’s more, Mourinho has the added bonus of already working with the Real front-man and knows how to get the very best out of him.
Why not stick with what you’ve got? If it is his age that Mourinho is worried about, then time may be running out, not for Lukaku, but for the Chelsea manager. The 20 year old warrior is already proving he has what it takes to score goals for fun and torment even the tightest of defences, finding the back of the net against the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City, and more recently, Arsenal.
The on-loan starlet has netted an impressive 14 goals in 29 outings this season and has so far remained ambivalent as to where he will be plying his trade next season. It also seems as though Mourinho is more interested in the earning rather goal scoring potential of the Belgian powerhouse, who is likely to see his price-tag inflate considerably if he is to have the type of World Cup that many are predicting. Hopefully, though, Lukaku’s performances in Brazil will help change the Chelsea managers mind regarding the striker’s future at the club, as, with each performance, the Belgian is looking more and more reminiscent of a certain Didier Drogba in his prime. The big Ivorian even says so himself.
Robert Lewandowski – The Polish goal machine would have potentially been a perfect target man for Mourinho’s Chelsea…had he not just signed for Bayern Munich.
Fernando Llorente – Three seasons ago Llorente was in the kind of form that would have seen him score goals for Chelsea with his eyes closed. He has all the attributes they are looking for, but unfortunately since joining Juventus, his goal-scoring form has alluded him.
Whoever Mourinho decides to raid his war chest for this summer it is crucial that he spends wisely, or risk ending up with a strike force that is the laughing stock of Europe…again.