For all the talk about Diego Costa’s fragile hamstrings and Didier Drogba’s impending retirement, too little is being done about an adequate back-up and a worthy replacement. After returning to Stamford Bridge two summers ago, Jose Mourinho has set about building a formidable squad. His acquisition of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas last year seemed to be the missing pieces of the puzzle. For the early parts of the season, it seemed so.
But since then, Fabregas has suffered an agonising dip in form while Costa has seen his hamstring and suspensions hinder his devastating initiation to the Premier League.
In the midst of this, one truth has been laid bare: Chelsea may have a great starting eleven, but they are shorn of quality in depth. The truth is even more obvious in the striking department. Club legend, Drogba, is likely to hang up his boots at the end of the season, while Loic Remy is still a capable deputy for Costa whenever called upon.
As the club prepares for a new season, chances must not be taken. So far, it seems there will be some activity involving a striker as there have been rumours concerning one striker or the other joining the Blues in the summer transfer window.
The problem is that while the names linked with Chelsea are names of good strikers, they are just that – good.
One would expect that when at least two global superstars and world class finishers are likely to be available, a club needing a world class partner for their world class striker (who in this case is Chelsea and Costa) would be linked to such names.
Now, why are both men likely to be available?
After being substituted against Olympique Marseille on Sunday night, Cavani was involved in a touchline row with his manager Laurent Blanc.
Although he sought to douse the situation he could not help but once again voice his displeasure at being forced to play out wide to accommodate Zlatan Ibrahimovic. This is not the first time he is complaining, and it certainly won’t be the last. He is clearly unhappy. A transfer to a club where he will play as centre forward would surely appeal to ‘El Tigre’ at this time. This is the time a club like Chelsea should swoop in and attempt to turn the player’s head or force the club’s hand. So far, nothing.
For Higuain, the lethal Argentine has clearly been unhappy in Naples of recent. Poor performances from Rafa Benitez’s side have combined with an increasing possibility of missing out on Champions League football next season.
A striker like Higuain, who Mourinho knows too well from their time together at Real Madrid cannot be content playing for a club with much ambition but little action season in, season out. He needs to showcase his talents in the Champions League regularly. His body language in recent times suggest that he is indeed ready to move clubs, and Chelsea is right up there with the top clubs in the world. Still, nothing has been heard from that end.
Finance cannot be a problem, after all the club is in line with Financial Fair Play and the new TV money will have increased the transfer budget. It may yet be that the Blues will pull off another transfer coup, like with Fabregas and Willian, and how welcome that would be! Or they may indeed maintain an interest in Icardi or Dybala, which, in that case, won’t actually be a bad idea.
What is true, however, is that where the best players are available, the best clubs should be linked with them. Right now, that is not the case.