There can’t be many clubs to have spent so lavishly on strikers only for what appeared to be a world beater, turn out to be a rather expensive damp squib. Over the years, there’s been a few. Remember Chris Sutton, who after donning a Chelsea shirt under the management of Gianluca Vialli – surely a man to know a good striker when he sees one – very quickly became a player incapable of doing what had previously been a natural gift of putting the ball into the onion bag. More recent examples run through Shevchenko and current incumbent of the number nine shirt, Fernando Torres.
The others were relatively quickly drummed out, but with the Spaniard, there seems a reluctance to write off the investment and move on. There’s talk of big brass spending again during the summer to improve the squad, and who knows, it may even include the return of the ‘Special One.’ With Mourinho at the helm or not, a reinforcement of the Chelsea strike force seems on the cards. So where does this leave Torres?
I’ve always noticed the importance of new kit launches, and which players are involved. This year, notable by his exclusion was Frank Lampard, whilst Torres figured heavily, alongside Luiz, Mata and Hazard. Now, I know this is no guarantee, but it gives weight to the theory that Torres may be at the club when the new season kicks off in August. It seems any new arrivals will be to compliment, rather than replace him. Currently Chelsea have just two recognised front men on their rosta, compared to twice that number at the Manchester clubs and Arsenal. There’s room for players to come in and complete for places. The question is who?
The young Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku has had a barnstorming season at West Bromwich with his bustling and pacey skill conjuring up images of a young Drogba, but talk is that a further loan spell may be lined up for him next season. If that is the case, Torres and Ba will be the strikers awaiting the new arrivals.
Recent press reports have strongly linked Leverkusen’s Andre Schurrle with a move to west London. The German can play as a wide man or a striker, so that may be one place filled. The intriguing possibility however, raised again in German newspaper Bild this morning, is of Falcao decamping from Atletico to Chelsea. With champions Manchester United heavily linked with ‘flavour of the moment’ Polish striker Lewandowski, anyone wishing to compete with the Old Trafford club will need firepower, and Falcao may be the player to provide that. It is of course possible that Torres may move the other way, in some kind of part-exchange deal should Falcao be minded to make the move. If Chelsea could however, assemble a quartet of front men comprising Torres, Ba, Schurrle and Falcao, they may well be in business.
There may of course be the added bonus that competing with such company would draw the best from Torres, although that’s by no means certain. It would however be a beguiling prospect for Blues fans to see such firepower, with the prospect of Lukaku returning to his parent club next year.