Do Chelsea Need a Centre Forward?

Chelsea are set for a busy week as the January transfer window comes to a close in just over 7 days….

 

The Blues are in search of attacking options – it’s clear Michy Batshuayi isn’t up to scratch and that Alvaro Morata is struggling for form…

 

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Many would argue that Chelsea don’t need another striker (Eden Hazard included), yet they’ve been linked with a number of attacking forces this month – the latest of which is Edin Dzeko.

 

So, do the Blues need a new frontman?

 

First of all, when we say frontman, we should be more specific – a target man.

 

What Does History Suggest?

 

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If we’re to look at the club’s recent history, their system has thrived with a physical and clinical front man, in the form of Drogba and then Costa. Thus, it made sense when they brought in Morata at the start of the season.

 

The Spaniard scored seven goals and provided two assists in his first eight games for the Blues. In the 23 games since, he’s netted just five times, recording two assists. He’s struggling.

 

Premier League Record:

 

Drogba: 104 Goals in 254 Appearances – 0.41 goals per match

Costa: 66 Goals in 126 Appearances – 0.58 goals per match

Morata: 10 Goals in 20 Appearances – 0.5 goals per match

 

Stats don’t always tell the full story. Alvaro Morata is averaging a goal every 152 minutes in the Premier League this term. Not bad in his first season, but Chelsea need someone more ruthless.

 

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There have been a number of occasions in recent months where the striker has gone missing in front of goal…

 

Chelsea’s current situation was somewhat highlighted at the start of the season by Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson: “The biggest worry is the centre-forward. If Morata gets injured, God-forbid he doesn’t, and the other lad’s got to play 12 games on the trot, then I see a problem. I think come January they will have to get another centre-forward, they’ve taken a big chance here. ”

 

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There’s no doubt Morata has the ability to play be the target man Antonio Conte is looking for, but, like Alexandre Lacazette at Arsenal, his confidence has taken a knock. However if Chelsea really do need a striker, then you’d expect them to be looking for someone with more ability than the Spanish international…

 

Players Linked…

 

The players Chelsea have been linked with in this Transfer Window aren’t of the calibre of the current Premier league Champions, and a team who, many forget, are still involved in all four cup competitions.

 

Premier League This Season:

 

Andy Carroll: 2 Goals in 12 Appearances

Peter Crouch: 3 Goals in 19 Appearances

Ashley Barnes: 3 Goals in 23 Appearances

 

Andy Carroll has carried the word potential on his shoulders for a number of years now, yet his proneness to injury and poor goal-scoring record has meant that word has never transformed into quality. Mr Crouch, a loyal servant to the Premier League, is 36 and over the hill, whilst Ashley Barnes being linked with Chelsea screams of desperation from the Blues…The fact is, none of these players would improve Chelsea, or bring something different to what Morata can.

 

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News coming out of the club today suggest that a deal has been struck with Edin Dzeko. Rumours of a €50m + Michy on loan have been mentioned. A deal that most Chelsea fans would be delighted with.

 

The Bosnian has netted 13 times in all competitions, but impressed against the Blues during their Champions League encounters, aggregating two goals and an assist.

 

Other than buying a new forward they’re able to recall Tammy Abrahram, and give him a shot in the first team:

 

Rio Ferdinand pointed out: “Chelsea have had Tammy Abraham in their ranks, who is a tall, rangy player. You’d put him on the side of being a target-man. So maybe he fits that bill – why isn’t he being brought back from loan to fill that part?”

 

 

Yet, if you depict the ideal target-man, you’d think physical and strong in the air… Morata leads the Premier League scoring charts for headers (6), even though Chelsea are only ranked 6th in terms of crosses into the box (494) – is he perhaps missing frequent quality service?

 

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Hazard Has His Say

 

“Who is the best team this year? Manchester City. The strikers, [Gabriel] Jesus and [Sergio] Aguero, are not big.

 

“It’s simple. It depends how you want to play. If you want to play with long balls you need a target man, if you want to keep the ball on the floor you need a small guy. It depends how you want to play.

 

“I think we have two very good strikers in Alvaro [Morata] and Michy [Batshuayi]. If they are not ready to play I can play striker, so I don’t think we need [another one].”

 

The Belgian has contributed 10 goals in the Premier League this season and makes a valid point with regards to City.

 

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We saw just how effective he and Willian combine at the weekend when they tore Brighton apart. Conte’s system plays to their strengths… In fact, Conte has altered his league winning 3-4-2-1 formation to shore up the midfield and play two strikers in a 3-1-4-2 formation, similar to the way he had Italy playing in Euro 2016…

 

Injuries haven’t helped, but cast your mind back to Cesc Fabregas’ relationship with Diego Costa – runs in behind, perfectly timed through balls etc – Cesc acts as a quarter-back and any Chelsea forward needs to play to his strength. Combine his vision with the flair of Willian and Hazard, there’s no reason why Chelsea shouldn’t be firing on all cylinders.

 

So, do Chelsea need to buy a Striker?

 

€50m for Edin Dzeko seems logical. He has a wealth of experience having won the Premier League twice with Manchester City.

 

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Chelsea introduced a standard policy in recent seasons of only offering one-year extensions to players once they pass the age of 30. However, they looked to have abandoned the practice as Dzeko wasn’t prepared to sign for the short-term. The Blues are so keen to add the Bosnia international to the squad, they are willing to give him a longer deal.

 

Dzeko has scored 61 goals in 117 appearances for Roma and is said to be happy in Rome, but the club need to raise funds to help comply with FFP rules.

 

While he will be cup-tied for the Champions League, Dzeko can play for Chelsea in the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Premier League.

 

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