Few people in the world can afford to waste £50 million, but thankfully Roman Abramovich is one of them. Since the extravagant Chelsea owner’s takeover at Stamford Bridge, several strikers have arrived under a weight of great expectation and left with their reputation in tatters.
Samuel Eto’o will be hoping he is not the latest front man to flop and follow in the footsteps of several big names before him who failed to make the grade in West London.
Andriy Shevchenko was perhaps the biggest disappointment. The Ukrainian’s illustrious career at AC Milan made him an all-time great and his personal friendship with Abramovich had fans hoping he would fit right in at Chelsea.
Despite his £30 million fee, however, the striker was clearly past his prime and netted just nine goals in three years before returning to Milan on loan.
Another Serie A great, Hernan Crespo, also decided to try his luck at Stamford Bridge but found goals a lot harder to come by in England than they had been in Italy. His record was slightly better, amassing twenty goals, but Crespo never looked at home and also spent time at both AC and Inter Milan in an effort to rediscover his form.
Judging how European players will fit into a Premier League can be a tricky matter, and it was certainly difficult with Mateja Kezman. The Serbian was one of the Eredivisie's top strikers, scoring more than a hundred times for PSV, but found that total reduced to just four in his year at Chelsea.
Fernando Torres, on the other hand, was a proven talent in the Premier League, having enjoyed a fruitful period at Liverpool. A number of critics have been too harsh on Torres and he is now regularly contributing up front. Whether he will ever justify his astronomical £50 million price tag remains to be seen and does appear somewhat unlikely.
Another England-based striker, Daniel Sturridge, was still young when he failed to make his mark at Chelsea. That had not hindered him at his previous club, Manchester City, though and he arrived in London full of promise. Sturridge flourished on loan at Bolton and has set the league alight this season with Liverpool.
Some strikers, particularly of the Victor Moses variety, were signed in relatively small deals and fans were not expecting fireworks. Yet, a significant number could have been game-changers but found themselves victims to the Chelsea striker curse.
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