Fake Eric Cantona

Chelsea Striker Top Options for this Summer

Created on Apr. 04, 2014 11:57 AM EST

No other team in the world is suffering a striker crisis quite like Chelsea has been suffering this season. Mourinho has made it no secret that he intends to sign a top level striker during the summer transfer window. He has no faith in Fernando Torres, he doesn't know how old Samuel Eto'o is. Mourinho has regularly played Andre Schurrle up front because the options are that slim. Fortunately for Mourinho, the summer is approaching with many new options. 

Edinson Cavani
Nicknamed "El Matador," Cavani possesses the physical dimensions of a gladiator. He's a huge player who can intimidate and physically hold defenders off of him, much like Ibrahimovic. Cavani's problem is that he's on a team with Ibrahimovic right now, and has not been allowed to play in his natural CF position. 

Cavani had remained coy about potentially leaving the Parc des Princes this summer, but after PSG defeated Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League matchup, Cavani dropped the following:

“We’ll see at the end of the season. We have to finish the season first [...] I am in Paris, but there are certainly things we must talk about with the club, things should be done differently.”

Unless Ibrahimovic is willing to move on to another team, Cavani will likely seek a move. And such a move would be extremely profitable for PSG.

PSG signed Cavani from SSC Napoli last summer, for about €64m. He could easily fetch over €80m today. And while Manchester United have expressed serious interest in paying anything to get Cavani, Chelsea would be the team offers Cavani pole position at CF.  Unlike Chelsea, Manchester United have Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, and neither of those players will take lightly the prospect of bench relegation.

Cavani would bring Chelsea the physical form and skill of a younger Didier Drogba. That said, Cavani should be the #1 target. However, at Cavani's price, Chelsea may have to step back. Chelsea is on the razor's edge with Financial Fair Play, and would need to sell off talent in order to balance books.

Diego Costa
Atletico Madrid has experienced a long run of exciting world class strikers. Outside of Fernando Torres, who was a homegrown Atletico talent, players such as Aguero, Falcao, Diego Forlan, David Villa, and Diego Costa represent some of the most exciting names to have been scouted and brought into Atletico to ply the striker trade. Atletico has displayed one of the best eyes for spotting talent that it can use effectively. And Atletico has profited from showcasing that scouting skill over and over, on what seems to be a yearly basis. Last year they sold Falcao to Monaco for €60m. In 2011, Aguero was sold for €45m. Each time, Atletico has seen profits of at least 100%. If one could invest in any team, Atletico would be an easy bet.

Much has been made already of signing Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid. Costa is valued at roughly €45m and could possibly transfer in an exchange for Fernando Torres, worth about €25m, plus cash. And that cash would come from the sale of David Luiz, who will be transferred anywhere buy Barcelona now.

Costa is known for his excellent finishing and physical strength, much like Cavani; much like Drogba. At 25 years old, and valued at €45m, Costa represents the best deal for Mourinho to fix the striker problem. And after the failed gamble of Fernando Torres, one must wonder if Roman Abramovich is willing to take a risk in the neighborhood of £60m on a striker again.

Radamel Falcao
The Tiger is 28, coming off a knee injury, but his killer instinct in front of the net would still have Mourinho salivating. Falcao was brought to Monaco last summer for €60m, on a plan to get newly promoted Monaco right into the Champions League. Monaco currently sit 2nd behind PSG on the Ligue 1 table, and could well hold on for the remaining 7 games and achieve that remarkable feat. Most teams in Monaco's position, are promoted from the lower league only to face immediate relegation back down. Thanks to shrewd management and excellent signings, Monaco has achieved the opposite. 

That said, the sale of Falcao would allow Monaco to free up space for 3 or 4 excellent starting players that would contribute to their Champions League campaign next season. Falcao, more than anything else, is a luxury item. He will score goals and sell shirts and bring more revenue to the team. But for a team like Monaco, there is more importance on cementing position and building strength at all areas of the pitch, to avoid being relegated again.

For Chelsea, Mourinho would be allowed to manage a player he has long admired. In 2004, Mourinho led Porto to the Champions League trophy over Monaco in a 3-0 victory. It was Mourinho's first Champions League trophy. Years later, Falcao became a Porto player, and one can imagine that Mourinho would feel a special connection based on that, along with Falcao's ability to score at will.

In January, Monaco had set Falcao's price at €80m, but that number should be lower now, given the existing knee injury, and the current lack of urgency to sign a top shelf striker for the Champions League.

Jackson Martinez
For €30m, Chelsea could sign another 28 year old Colombian Porto product: Jackson Martinez. That price will likely be higher as the summer progresses. Jackson is versatile, playing CF and the wings. His 16 goals in 25 matches so far this season makes Jackson an obvious improvement over the current Chelsea strike force. It's important to note that the leading forward at Chelsea is currently Eto'o with 8 goals. And while Eden Hazard and Oscar have been the de facto goal scorers for Chelsea this season, Mourinho would prefer to see his midfielders servicing goal scorers rather than being the top goal scorers.

One drawback is that Jackson Martinez has expressed his admiration for Arsenal. 
"If I get a chance to play for a high level club like Arsenal I wouldn’t hesitate to accept it." And it would be hard to fault Jackson for feeling that way, as all strikers want to play for a team where strikers are allowed the scoring opportunities. At Chelsea, players like Oscar and Hazard have usurped those opportunities. And possibility, that behavior will need to be changed. However, the more likely scenario is that Oscar will be sold to PSG, who are always looking to sign top level players these days.

Finally, Romelu Lukaku
For Chelsea, this option has eluded them for years. One of the best young strikers in England, and whose rights are owned by Chelsea to boot! Yet Chelsea can't seem to field Lukaku. Lukaku's abilities are tops. He has helped Everton this season achieve great things, miraculous things, in the wake of Moyes's departure. Chelsea fans want Lukaku to wear the Chelsea shirt, and eventually that must happen, or Lukaku will walk away, and become very rich and prolific elsewhere, for a big team.

Whichever way Mourinho decides to invest this summer's transfer kitty, the expectations for next season will be astronomical. Chelsea will be a different team. Players like David Luiz, Ashley Cole, Ivanovic, Oscar, Torres, Ba, and Eto'o will likely be gone. These departures, however painful, will be critical in freeing up the assets to pursue the pieces needed to make Chelsea competitive for the rest of the decade.   

                      Fake Eric Cantona @FakeEricCantona View my profile page