Here we are again, approaching yet another transfer window; and none other than Radamel Falcao is once more being linked to Chelsea.
After Jose Mourinho was spotted at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels watching Belgium succumb to Falcao’s Colombia last Thursday, rumours have been rife concerning the current state of the super-striker in Monaco. Predictably, these rumours have recently manifested into supposed bids and pre-contract discussions with the 27-year-old.
Surely even the most gullible Chelsea fan will not fall victim to the Sunday Express’ exclusive report that Falcao has ‘struggled to adapt to the lack of atmosphere at home games’; but considering the endless striker situation at the Bridge, you can’t blame the paper for trying their luck.
It has become an irredeemable itch for Chelsea fans worldwide, as the striker situation at Stamford Bridge continues to frustrate and baffle with the years after the departure of Didier Drogba beginning to mount up.
Fernando Torres, Romelu Lukaku, Samuel Eto’o, Demba Ba, and Daniel Sturridge have all tried to fill the gaping maw of a void left by Drogba in the summer of 2012. Arguably they have all failed. Sturridge is surely the one that will leave most Chelsea fans regretful, as the England striker is blossoming into a top notch striker under the tutelage of Brendan Rogers at Liverpool. While Lukaku’s real chance may yet come, Chelsea are still stuck in striker limbo.
Many will think that the capture of Falcao, however unlikely at this juncture, would be the answer. But while there is no doubting the pedigree of the player, having netted 52 times in his two seasons at Atletico Madrid and bagging eight so far for Monaco, pragmatic Chelsea fans will surely hold doubts.
In an age where the traditional striker position has been warped and altered to suit new, team-based styles of play; Chelsea have adopted a playing-style that demotes the essentiality of the man up top concerning goals. This will not be news to football fans, as Chelsea have clearly sought goals from almost every area of the pitch in the last two years; and this has had a detrimental effect on the likes of Fernando Torres.
The Spaniard’s fall from grace coincided with his move from a forward thinking, striker orientated make-up at Liverpool; to a collective-based, slow building team of intricate players at Stamford Bridge. For a striker so used to scoring the goals, his was a hard transition to ‘link-up man’; a transition that has still not fully come to pass.
At Chelsea, the strikers are not scoring enough goals – but then the strikers are not looked for to score all the goals. Certainly a footballing ‘Catch 22’.
This hypocrisy extends to the individual stars of the team. When Torres and the like jet into West London, they are surely buoyed by the view of the glittering attacking midfield that they are set to benefit from.
And yet Eden Hazard, Oscar, Juan Mata, Willian, Kevin De Bruyne, Andre Schurrle, and his dog do not pick the passes their striker yearns for. Instead, stop-start games for the forward ensue; chasing shadows, and touching the ball fleetingly. It is a barren wasteland for strikers looking to climb the goal scoring charts, as the Chelsea creative midfield also doubles as the main source of goals.
To an extent, similarities can be drawn from David Villa’s stay at the Nou camp. Fresh from his sublime goal-scoring antics at Valencia, which saw him compared to Spain legend, Raul; Villa’s move to Barcelona in 2010 brought with it a marked change of emphasis.
The now Atletico player was often deployed on the wing, as the team was set-up away from the traditional, and solely focused on providing the ammunition for the false number nine, Leo Messi, to do the damage. While clearly not the same case at Chelsea, it still goes to show that changes of styles can hinder the goal-scoring of proven, class operators.
If Chelsea persist with this way of playing, then Wayne Rooney remains the best fit at the Bridge for my money.
Rooney’s tenacity, vision, defensive aptitude, and deft touch makes him the best choice at Stamford Bridge. His ability to link up with his teammates is superb, and while the 28-year-old is not always looked to for goals, yet he is certainly not incapable.
The Man Utd striker was heavily linked with a move to West London in the summer; however, it is a move that looks highly unlikely to reappear in the future, after the England man’s apparent change of thought at Old Trafford. Players of his calibre, such as Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero, would also suit the Chelsea style.
If the Blues do splash more cash, and secure the best goal poacher in the world from the French principality, there is no guarantee of success. The perennial striker ‘itch’ refuses to go away for Chelsea, and the days of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnsen scoring 40-odd goals between them in Blue are long gone.
Didier Drogba was one that, over time, altered the style of his entire team. Falcao, or indeed any striker will need time to eke out their own niche. Considering the severity of the ‘itch’, the current team makeup, and the lack of patience stretching throughout the echelons at the Bridge, you wonder whether they will get it.
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