Defending Premier League champions Chelsea FC have had it tough living up to that tag this season. It is also the second consecutive time that they are suffering from this predicament. But although this season has not gone horrendously wrong as did the one which sealed Jose Mourinho’s fate with the club, they have hardly performed as title defenders. Defence though, has not nearly been as much of a problem as attack.
One would have thought that the arrival of Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid and the retainment of services of Michy Batshuayi who showed great promise last season, would have their campaign up and running in no time. Hence, the West-Londoners did away with Bertrand Traore and loaned off Tammy Abraham, two players who had proved their mettle (and still are in other clubs). However, more than half of the season has gone by, and the Blues are struggling to score.
There has been too much pressure on Morata to score in all competitions, and the only place Batshuayi has taken by storm is Twitter. When not coming up with wise-cracks about EA Sports and his critics, the young Belgian has not been coming up with goals either. One thing is simple: Chelsea need a second striker. Way better than the self-proclaimed Batman, and one who can be at par with Morata so as to fill in the Spaniard’s shoes when he is not playing. So, who are the strikers Chelsea should ideally add to their roster in January? We take a look at the three most probable ones.
The Gabon international is one of the few proven world-class strikers available in the market. The Blues on their part could definitely do with some injection of pace. Aubameyang is the second highest scorer in the Bundesliga as of now with his 13 goals (not to mention having bagged three assists too) and is an opportunistic striker with a reputation for being a clinical finisher.
The likes of Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso would certainly find the prospect of feeding crosses to the 29-year-old a delightful one. No doubt the striker always wanted a move to the Santiago Bernabeu, but with Los Blancos coming up with a polite “thanks but no thanks” response, the onus is one the Blues to go ahead and sign him. He would however not be eligible to play in the Champions League, but given Chelsea’s form, how many would bet on them playing more than two further matches in the competition?
Inter Milan have had a flying start to the Serie A this season. Along with Napoli, they were unbeaten for a long time (Udinese beat them in their 17th of the season). The scoring was largely down to Mauro Icardi, who with 18 goals this season is Serie A’s second highest scorer as of now, and that tally is more than half his team’s tally (35). Another striker who has a good amount of pace and a knack for precise finishing, at 24, he is also one for the long haul.
And here is the brownie point: The Argentine can play in the UEFA Champions League. Maybe conjure a little special something against the Catalan giants to ensure Chelsea do play more than a couple more in the competition? While everything sounds perfect, the biggest obstacle for the signing would be Real Madrid who want him too. And normally Los Blancos get who they want. But with Micahel Emelano gone, it’s high time Chelsea shifted gears in the transfer market.
If all else fails, there is a cheaper option on the cards. No offense to Englishman Jamie Vardy, but he can be a last resort should all other doors close down on the Blues. The best thing about the 31-year-old is the fact that he is a proven Premier League performer and can obviously play in the Champions League, and previously has played in the Champions League. Although he has had moments wherein he phased out of games, given quality services, Vardy can prove to be as lethal as any world-class striker.
Definitely not one for long-term and definitely not someone who can keep Morata out. But he is a good finisher, and for certain can be way more effective than Batshuayi (maybe not on Twitter). All Chelsea would need from him would be to showcase the form that won Leicester City the title in another season the Londoners were defending champions. He still shows good speed and Cesc Fabregas would certainly thrive feeding him.