The mere mention of Didier Drogba’s name used to rattle central-defenders in the Premier League.
Since his departure from Stamford Bridge last year, the mantle of responsibility has been passed on to Fernando Torres expectation-laden shoulders. Even though Torres’ work-rate has been unquestionably commendable, his consistency in front of the goal has been a little disappointing, owing to his own standards set in Liverpool days.
He has chipped in with important goals in Champions League and Europa League, which ended up making a huge difference in Chelsea’s European campaigns the last two seasons. A lot is still left to be desired, given his below par goals/game ratio in the Premier League.
Although, he should be judged on his present performances (referring to his Confederations Cup golden-boot winning showing and the way in which he ended the Premier League campaign on a positive note), it would be hopelessly romantic, and might I also add, borderline impractical, to think that he is ready to fill the mighty boots of the Ivorian legend, Drogba.
Jose Mourinho is pragmatic and meritocratic, which Chelsea veterans like Frank Lampard and Petr Čech have confirmed since his arrival in west London. No Chelsea player, even the ones considered legends by the Stamford Bridge faithful, is immune to bench-warming. Fernando Torres will be no stranger to the bench either.
If anything, I expect Mourinho to bring in a prolific poacher like Edinson Cavani, Robert Lewandowski, or Luis Suarez, and give Torres a run for his first team birth. Drogba had to fight for his spot with Eiður Guðjohnsen, and so will Torres and Demba Ba.
But, with whom is the question.
Edinson Cavani seems to be on his way to Paris Saint Germain, who, recent rumours suggest, have triggered the £53m release clause in the Uruguayan’s contract. Robert Lewandowski is robust, a great header of the ball, loves a tackle, and most importantly knows how to hold up play – a quality that Drogba was renowned and admired for by Mourinho. Fernando Torres, while a terrific finisher and dribbler, relies on assists and visionary passing. Juan Mata, Oscar dos Santos and Eden Hazard are more than capable of doing that and deserve a lot of credit for Torres’s improved statistics and upsurge in form last season.
But, sole reliance on this system to flourish and pay dividends is risky. Mourinho, who is known for switching tactics and formations during games to get the better out of his teams, needs more options up front.
Luis Suarez is another player who could do just the trick for him. He is a relentless worker, one of league’s best dribblers and undoubtedly one of the deadliest finishers in world football at the moment. His creative vision could be the solution to all of Chelsea’s problems. Let’s not forget, he has two years of experience in the league, which neither Cavani nor Lewandowski possess.
Needless to mention, the next Chelsea forward will most likely be a robust player, who can hold up play, track back to defend and create his own goals. Let’s wait and see who it is.
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