With Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge set for a January switch to Liverpool, Blues fans will undoubtedly switch their attention to who boss Rafa Benitez will bring in to fill the void left by the former Manchester City frontman.
After officials at Stamford Bridge confirmed that the England international has undergone a medical at Anfield ahead of a proposed £12 million move in January, the 23-year-old forward's time in west London looks to be coming to an end.
This time last season, Sturridge was arguably one of Chelsea’s best players, leading the way as the club's top goalscorer. What a difference 12 months and two new managers can make.
Under Villas-Boas, Sturridge was Chelsea’s main attacking threat, but he was left out of the side under Roberto Di Matteo, with the Italian tactician opting to use more experienced players ahead of the young forward.
Under Benitez, Sturridge has been forced to watch from the sidelines, mainly due to a hamstring injury, but with Benitez’s undeniable adoration and loyalty towards compatriot Fernando Torres, Sturridge has been forced to accept that his opportunities will be limited, and has decided to move on. This leaves Chelsea with only one striker. For a club that has had a wealth of attacking options over the last five years, this is an unusual position to be in.
As recently as 2008, Chelsea could proudly boast a forward line including Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Andriy Shevchenko. Should Sturridge complete his move to Anfield as expected, the Blues would be left with just one option in attack - Torres. With Torres still far from his best, Chelsea have to strengthen in the January transfer window if they wish to remain competitive and fighting for major honours. This opens the door for several transfer options.
Chelsea have been heavily linked with Atletico Madrid superstar Radamel Falcao. He is widely regarded as one of the best players in the world at the present moment, with his ability to find the net on a regular basis drawing admiring glances from Europe's elite.
He is the best option available to Chelsea, but would undoubtedly come at a huge price. Roman Abramovich has shown in the past that he's willing to back his manager and is not afraid to spend big, funding several high-profile transfers.
Falcao, 26, would be an amazing addition to the Chelsea squad. A front line of Torres and Falcao - supported by Hazard, Mata and Oscar - is enough to spread fear into the most resolute of defences.
However, if Chelsea don't want to spend big in the transfer window, they may be able to pick up a bargain in the January sales. With widespread reports suggesting that Newcastle's Demba Ba has a buy-out clause in his contract of just £7 million, he would be a much cheaper and more viable alternative to Falcao. Ba has the quality and class required to be a hit at Chelsea, but another affordable option would be Swansea City’s Michu.
Signed in the summer by boss Michael Laudrup for just £2 million, the Spaniard is the league's leading scorer with 13 strikes to his name. Although Swansea will be determined to hang on to their star player, they have shown with the sales of Joe Allen and Scott Sinclair that they are willing to negotiate with the big clubs if the price is right. Could Chelsea tempt Michu into making a January switch to the Bridge?
Whoever they opt to sign, it is clear to me that Chelsea have to strengthen in January. Despite their extravagant outlay in the summer, Chelsea cannot afford to be left with one striker. An over-reliance on Torres is not good for the team, and an injury to him would surely spell disaster for their season.
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