Chelsea have enjoyed a trophy laden spell since Roman Abramovich came to the club in 2003. However, the club has not been lucky as far as strikers go. Didier Drogba can be called as the one striker who had a really successful spell at the club. Other top names like Fernando Torres and Andriy Shevchenko had disappointing spells at Stamford Bridge. Fears are that Chelsea may be adding yet another to the list, as the blues are reportedly close to signing Radamel Falcao. The blues are favourites to win the title at 11/8 in the Premier League 2015-16 odds from Betfair.
It is clear that Jose Mourinho is keen on adding a third striker to his squad after the departure of Didier Drogba. This is an extremely important position for a team with title aspirations. The player will be aware that he will not be the first choice regular nor will he be selected for the big matches, but there should be enough motivation for him to perform at the highest level when called upon. Even a player like Drogba – at the end of his career – was not prepared to be in this situation for long.
The importance of a third striker at Chelsea is far more important looking at the injury record of both Diego Costa and Loic Remy in recent years. The duo have struggled to remain fit throughout a league campaign and this calls for a top class third striker option.
Mourinho remains confident that he can bring the best out of Falcao once again. However, the Colombian striker’s latest game in the Copa America would suggest otherwise. Colombia came into the competition as one of the favourites to win the title, but this tag has suffered a deadly knock after they lost 1-0 to Venezuela. Falcao had a difficult time on the pitch, as he rarely threatened at goal. He failed to have a single shot on target despite playing the full 90 minutes, while he was also guilty of losing the ball after a poor touch on four occasions.
Falcao does not seem to be the kind of player to lead the line on his own anymore. It would make sense for Chelsea to go for a player like Jackson Martinez, who is keen on a move to a big club but will be prepared to do a job in other areas of the pitch as well. The worry for Chelsea fans largely comes from seeing Falcao struggle to make any impact at Manchester United last season. He was not given a regular run out in the team, but he can expect more of the same at Chelsea as well.
The cruciate ligament injury that Falcao suffered just before the World Cup – and his efforts to recover quickly in time for the competition – appears to have taken the edge from his game. Further, Falcao has always been a player who is deadly in the penalty box. Despite his obvious disadvantage in terms of height, the Colombian has always been potent even when the ball is supplied only in the form of crosses. Ironically, it is these attributes that do not make him a fit at Chelsea straightaway.
Apart from the first few months of last season, Chelsea were largely reluctant to go forward quickly. Much of the passing in the final third was sideways and there were very few crosses as well. Cesc Fabregas’ decline in form towards the end of the season has much to do with it, but Chelsea have largely been playing a different style of football over the last five years. A direct and much faster style of football would Falcao.
The only consolation with regard to the transfer may be that Chelsea are not looking to sign the player on a permanent basis straightaway. He is expected to arrive at West London initially on a loan deal, which would then be made permanent depending on his performances.
Chelsea may have won the title quite comfortably last season, but the blues can expect a very strong response from the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal in the coming campaign. Betfair backs City very closely to Chelsea at 11/4 in the title race next season whereas both Arsenal and Manchester United are given the same odds of 9/2 for a title win. Reigning Golden Boot winner Sergio Aguero is backed to continue his form at 11/4, while Costa’s injury prone nature puts him at 9/2. The arrival of Falcao is unlikely to change any positions at the top of these odds.
There have been suggestions that Falcao may not be signed as a third striker but as a backup to Costa himself, which would be strange considering that the inverse used to be true when the duo were at Atletico Madrid. More importantly, it would suggest that Remy would leave the club after just one season. It would be a shame given that the Frenchman came up with some very important goals. The 28-year-old finished the campaign with nine goals from 25 appearances – most of which were from the bench.