January Transfer Window: Chelsea’s Striker Options

Diego Costa has cut a frustrated figure at Chelsea in recent times. Poor form and a lack of goals saw him relegated to the bench for last weekend’s goalless draw with Spurs.

Not known for his ability to hide his emotions, the Spaniard threw his bib in frustration having being told to warm up without being subbed on.

In fact, the 27-year-old has only managed 3 goals in this campaign and looks to be a long way from the form that saw him act as the effective spearhead which drove Chelsea to last season’s title win.

On top of that, Falcao’s downright tragic fall from grace has seen midfielders start up-front and the goals dry up.

Mourinho has defended the much-maligned Costa in recent interviews and has played down the bib incident:

“For me this behaviour is normal. A top player on the bench will not be happy.”

Football is a funny old game. Especially in England. A small act like throwing a bib in frustration in the real world is read as just that, frustration.

But this is the microcosm that is football and such an act within the soap opera that is the Premier League sets the rumour-mill into overdrive.

And so the Blues’ shopping list begins to make appearances online.

You could argue that it’s harsh on Costa. However such is the cut-throat nature of the Premier League. Reputation counts for very little when the goals aren’t flowing.

If Chelea are looking to boost their striking ranks in the coming window then their options will be limited as clubs are loathe to lose big players mid-season.

In that sense, this article will look at Mourinho’s supposed targets as well as those who could be effective at Stamford Bridge and assess the likelihood of a successful transfer.

 

Thomas Muller

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Ah, the mystery that is Thomas Muller. A player who arguably isn’t amazing at any one trait but just pieces together the right ones to make a lethal striker.

You wouldn’t say he has the lightning pace of Aubameyang or the mercurial skills of Ronaldo, however he has the striker’s instinct of being in the right place at the right time – all of the time.

13 goals in 14 Bundesliga appearances is nothing to sneer at at his ability to sniff out goals could be exactly what Chelsea needs.

Costa has shown a frustrating inability to break into the 6-yard area when balls are fizzed through it. Muller is the kind of striker who will add 5 or 6 goals a season just by being in that area when the ball arrives.

However Chelsea have next to no chance of securing the German in January, and a summer signing is looking increasingly less likely as Muller is reportedly close to agreeing a deal to stay with Bayern.

Likelihood of signing: 4/10 

 

Jamie Vardy

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An interesting one. Recent record breaker and all round lad Mr. Vardy comes with the added benefit of being a jolly good Englishman. Chelsea will like the look of that in terms of their Champions League registration.

However, Mr. Vardy comes with the added disadvantage of being a jolly good Englishman. Chelsea won’t like the look of that as it immediately raises his valuation by £10-15m. (See the curious case of Raheem Sterling for more.)

Not sure if he would fit into Chelsea’s squad however, with English players the Premier League can be an unusual place.

Likelihood of signing: 5/10

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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The Swede’s contract is due to expire with PSG next year. As such, under the Bosman Ruling he can be signed on a pre-contact 6 months before the contract is up.

Rumours are currently circulating that Ibrahimovic is assessing an offer from Chelsea.

He has expressed his desire to join a Premier League team in the past so it isn’t impossible. The nastier side to his game often goes under the radar however Ibra does have some of the qualities which have earned Costa his less than wholesome reputation in England.

That abrasive nature would go down well at the Bridge and could replicate the tactics of using a bullish lone striker which was so succesful last season when Costa was in-form.

Likelihood of signing: 6/10

 

Saido Berahino

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Similar to Vardy, Berahino will come at a premium by virtue of his English nationality. Berahino will obviously jump at the opportunity to leave after the summer’s antics.

His form has been a shadow of last season and it’s because of this that Mourinho may think twice about adding another potential arse to his already well populated squad of bench-warming strikers.

Possibly not worth the money for a player who can be great but has a questionable attitude and inconsistent form. Despite this, Berahino is young and English and even if he can’t break into the team immediately he could be exactly the kind of player Chelsea want on the books.

Likelihood of signing: 7/10

 

Edinson Cavani

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The Uruguayan’s name is thrown around every summer with various clubs named as potential suitors. Invariably, he stays in Paris and continues to impress in a relatively poor French League 1.

Despite looking like a cave man Cavani will be an attractive player to Mourinho. He would suit the lone striker role and is a name big enough to appease a Chelsea fan base vibrating with growing with discontent.

Will Chelsea sign him in the January window? Absolutely not. PSG have proven that they do not bow to financial bullying, such is their own fiscal clout.

Likelihood of signing: 3/10

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

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Aubameyang is hot property right now. It’s probably fair to say that most clubs in Europe would love to add the speed-merchant to their squad. As such they would definitely face competition.

He has an astonishing 17 goals in 14 appearances in this year’s Bundesliga campaign. At 6″1, Aubameyang would offer a presence up front, however it is his ability to run behind defences with blistering pace is how he made his name.

His history in Ligue 1, Bundelsiga and the Champions League give him the experience to leap-frog Chelsea’s stuttering front line. His current form juxtaposed with Chelsea’s leaves a fairly slim chance of seeing the Gabon national in Chelsea’s squad any time soon.

Likelihood of signing: 2/10 

 

Karim Benzema

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Benzema has talent and he could be inclined to look for a fresh start in a new league. The Frenchman has been courted for years by Arsene Wenger who may have landed himself in the friend-zone. Mourinho could be the guy to finally land him given their history at Madrid.

Likelihood of signing: 2/10

Emile Heskey

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A true legend of the game. Heskey has more goals in the Premier League than Messi and Neymar combined. He has more caps for England than Cristiano Ronaldo and is woefully undervalued by Bolton Wanderers, the club he currently graces. Known for his turn of pace and ability to brush defenders aside, it has been said that the 37 year-old striker has, if anything, gained a yard of pace in his mature age.

Likelihood of signing: 6.9/10

 

Notable mentions: Gonzalo Higuain, Alexandre Lacazette, Michy Batshuayi, Alex Teixeira, Antoine Griezmann.

 

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