The solution for Chelsea’s problem with fielding an in-form striker should be to simply swallow some pride and be prepared to go all-out to re-sign Daniel Sturridge from Liverpool in the January transfer window.
Every time the England international notches another goal to his tally for the season, which now stands at nine in ten appearances, added to the 11 he bagged for the Merseysiders after leaving the Stamford Bridge club in January 2013, it gives Chelsea fans utter frustration and regret that the club had a goalscorer on their doorstep all along.
Unfortunate circumstances lead to the 24-year-old’s exit last winter, with his eagerness to play regular football in the centre-forward role, and his lack of team ethic, particularly when deciding to shoot from long distances when team-mates were in better goalscoring positions contributing to a fall-out which went beyond repair.
This lead to a lot of anger being vented towards the former Manchester City forward from the fans, and eventually the coaches lost patience with him, but a lot has changed since then.
His attitude has improved since making the switch to Anfield, where he has been played in his natural position and given more of a free role, and now we see him tracking back, improving his link up play and busting his gut to latch on to through balls, as opposed to the standing still and shrugging of the shoulders at times when things weren’t going his way at Chelsea.
We have seen his ability for finishing become far more clinical, which has given him recognition at international level, and we now see a player whose hunger and desire is paying off after being treated with better patience and care.
That is not to say that his time with the Blues was a complete disaster, as after impressing in his loan spell at Bolton Wanderers in 2011, Andre Villas-Boas used him to effect on the right-wing, even if this was against the player’s wishes, and his return of nine goals in the Premier League before Christmas in the 2011-12 season was the sign if a player who will perform when played regularly.
Roberto Di Matteo however, just did not see the value in him, and preferred Salomon Kalou as a better defensive choice in that position, which would be less likely to happen now with a more mature, level headed player.
Admittedly, Brendan Rodgers and the Liverpool hierarchy know of his importance to the Reds, and they would certainly not be interested in selling for any value under the £20million mark, such is the effect he is having on the team in a deadly partnership with Luis Suarez at the moment.
But if Jose Mourinho is going to add a forward to his squad when the transfer window re-opens, it is more likely that they will have to buy a striker who is eligible to play in the Champions League, which Sturridge qualifies for.
His familiarity with the club and the players, as well as his deserving of trophies and Champions League football on a regular basis would mean he would be keen to make the move back to SW6, providing he is promised a regular starting berth in the number nine position.
Turning possession into goals is where Chelsea have struggled this season, and the Birmingham-born player’s pace would be ideal to run onto defence splitting passes from the likes of Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard, as fast acceleration is something the other forwards do not possess.
Samuel Eto’o managed to break his duck when scoring a perfectly executed strike against Cardiff City on Saturday, ending a staggering run where no Chelsea striker had scored a Premier League goal this season, with Fernando Torres and Demba Ba also suffering goal droughts in the league.
The Cameroonian may well have unlocked a door and go on to score many goals this season, but what if Mourinho could call upon two strikers banging goals in for fun? Maybe he could consider playing two up front in games where he would want to see his team be more adventurous.
Even with on-loan Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku also in form for Everton, he will not be used by the Portuguese in the short-term, and the depth to the squad could be improved greatly with someone of Sturridge’s calibre coming back in.
Now is not the time for Chelsea to sit back and let the teams with a more powerful strike force leave them trailing in the title race, and while other transfer targets in that position will surely be pursued, moving backwards to go forwards could be the formula for success this season.
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