In the summer, Chelsea, let go of Coach Antonio Conte and bought in his fellow Italian Maurizio Sarri, to replace him. Sarri’s demand of quick passing, movement and getting the ball into wide areas to supplement the strikers (‘Sarriball’), was quickly implemented by Chelsea’s players. Chelsea started the Premier League season by going 12 games unbeaten, before losing to Tottenham. Since then, Chelsea have lost to Wolverhampton, Leicester and drawn with Southampton. These results have meant after their great start, that they have fallen away from the top 3 of Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham.
One problem that has been a constant even in the games they have won, were the amount of chances that they were going astray. Going back to midway through last season, Alvaro Morata, who started the 2017/18 campaign well after arriving for £60m from Real Madrid has been missing chances left, right and centre. In last seasons’ January transfer window, Chelsea acquired Olivier Giroud from Arsenal, but Giroud has been given limited time since being at the club, and he will be out of contract in summer. Young prospect, Tammy Abraham, was loaned to Swansea last season, and now he finds himself on loan at Aston Villa in the Championship, so all roads lead to Chelsea signing a striker in this window. Can Chelsea find the man who will be clinical? Lets have a look at some of their options and how likely they are to happen.
Gonzalo Higuain (on loan at AC Milan from Juventus)
The Argentine striker was deemed surplus to requirements at Juventus bought in Cristiano Ronaldo, and he sent on loan to bitter rivals AC Milan. The loan could be aborted however and this has indeed just happened, making him a prime candidate. Sarri worked with Higuain at Napoli for one season in 2015/16 where Higuain scored a remarkable 36 goals in 35 league games. Higuain has only scored 6 goals in 15 league appearances for Milan thus far, but with the amount of chances Chelsea create, he could be an immediate fix for them, considering how prolific he has been through the most part of his career. Having just turned 31, he may only be the answer for 18 months, but one thing he does is score goals and that is what they need. This could be a very likely move before the window closes whether it is a permanent deal or a loan.
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
The Frenchman is eager to remind people how good he is. Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has left Real Madrid, Benzema and Gareth Bale were expected to pick up the mantle, but Benzema has 7 in 18 league games and Madrid need more than that. It seems like Benzema would want at least a full season to proof to the Madrid faithful that he can get back to his old goalscoring form, as he has only hit double figures in the league once since the 2015/16 season. Social media went into a frenzy a few days ago, as a voice message was being passed around that a Range Rover had been ordered by a Mrs Benzema in South London, so people were informed that they should make bets on Benzema joining Chelsea in this window. Overall this one seems unlikely to happen, as the evidence is not clear and clinical enough, but I will not completely rule it out.
Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)
The England international is finally injury free after having horrible luck since being in the Premier League, and he is showing he is one of the leagues better finishers. What is also impressive about Wilson, is his ability to link up play, Wilson has 5 assists to go with his 9 league goals this season, and he made his first international appearance due to his good form and scored against USA. Bournemouth, last week bought in Dominic Solanke from Liverpool for £19m, meaning that if Wilson were to leave they would not necessarily have to scramble around looking for a striker just yet and could wait until the summer to bring in a replacement. The only stumbling block here would be the price, as it is being rumoured that the Cherries would like as much as £5om if they were to let him go. Wilson is 26 and if bought now could come into his peak at Chelsea, this move could be likely as I believe Bournemouth would be willing to take the money and would strengthen other parts of the team.
Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan)
The Inter Milan captain is apparently nowhere near agreeing a new contract, this has alerted numerous teams, but the two clubs most prominent are those of Chelsea and Real Madrid who could possibly get his signature. Icardi, for all his goals has not had a smooth ride with the Inter fans, he has had run-ins with the Ultras and he could be possibly looking to bring his time in the capital to an end. When it comes to out and out strikers, Icardi is one of the most ruthless finishers in world football, and Chelsea in their wildest dreams would not get him for cheap. The Nerazzuri will look for a steep price as Icardi’s current deal does not expire until summer 2021, despite them wanting to tie him down for longer as soon as possible. This deal is unlikely, as if Icardi was to leave, Real Madrid would possibly be his desired destination.
Marko Arnautovic (West Ham)
The maverick Austrian, left the pitch after West Ham’s victory over Arsena,l like he had already mentally disconnected from them. Arnautovic, headed straight down the tunnel with an expression like they had just lost, not won, and before that when he was substituted, he applauded the Hammers’ fans like he was saying goodbye. All this has culminated from a £35m bid from an unnamed Chinese team, and his brother, who is also his agent, has said Arnautovic wants to leave. Arnautovic has not said this himself as of yet, but his body language is enough to suggest it is true. Chelsea had been linked to Arnautovic before the bid came in, and it would not be a long term fix, but Chelsea may try to pull something off. Arnautovic’s consistency may be an issue, outside of him turning 30 in August, and this will probably supply a stumbling block. In addition to those things, there is also the fact the Chinese side will be willing to give him higher wages making this an unlikely deal.
Krzysztof Piatek (Genoa)
It has very much been a breakout season for the Polish striker. In what his debut Serie A season he scored in his first seven games, becoming the first man to do so since the legend that is Gabriel Batistuta. He then went on to score his first Poland goal in his second cap, and now the whole of Europe is alert to his goalscoring exploits. Only the mythical creature that is Cristiano Ronaldo has more league goals than him in Italy thus far. Piatek, sent social media speculation into overdrive earlier this month, as he followed Chelsea’s Instagram account and a few of the players, leading people to believe he may be the chosen one to blast Chelsea to Champions League qualification. With the fact Piatek has just joined Genoa it seems savagely unlikely that they would be willing to let him leave so quickly, but money does talk. This one falls into the unlikely bracket, but bear his name in mind for the future if he continues to nag goals as he is only 23.