Since the departure of Didier Drogba last summer, Chelsea have had something of a crisis up front without an obvious replacement for the Ivorian Blues legend.
Fernando Torres as had a torrid time at Stamford Bridge, pretty much since he arrived in 2011 – in fact the only things he’s consistently been able to maintain is his status as a £50 million flop.
Such were the concerns over his form (or lack thereof) that Chelsea brought in Newcastle’s top scorer Demba Ba in January – the Blues triggered his £7 million release clause and brought him in to relieve the responsibility that fell solely on Torres at the time.
However, Ba failed to replicate the form he previously enjoyed at St James’ Park down at Stamford Bridge – he scored 13 goals last season for the Magpies in 22 appearances prior to the move, he scored 16 goals the season before but he managed just 6 for Chelsea in the whole of 2013.
He did little to solve the problem of Chelsea’s striker crisis and, in reality; the only silver lining is that he only cost £7 million, which is certainly a less uncomfortable price tag than £50 million.
However, the Blues are expected to bring in a world-class front man this summer – the return of Jose Mourinho means they will likely have their pick of some of the continent’s most exciting talents.
The Blues had previously been heavily linked with Neymar and Radamel Falcao but with those two targets going elsewhere, it looks as though the West Londoners will turn their attentions to Edinson Cavani or Napoli and Stevan Jovetic of Fiorentina – perhaps they could snatch Robert Lewandowski from under Manchester United’s nose.
Regardless of who ultimately comes in, the reality remains that both Torres and Ba are going to find themselves a) on the bench or b) on their way out. I would expect that Torres will be offload – perhaps in an exchange deal for Cavani where he could reunite with Benitez at Napoli, perhaps not but, one way or another, he’ll probably be leaving England this summer.
Ba, however, may remain – Chelsea will need another striker even if they sign one of the aforementioned superstars. The problem will be that Ba will play more or a peripheral role under Mourinho than he would have expected when he signed for Chelsea back in January.
I doubt he’ll care much – he’ll still collect his £80,000 a week regardless of whether he plays or not – but at 28 years of age, he may wish he’d have waited until this summer to make his big move from Newcastle.
Had he have known then what he knows now, he may have figured that signing for Chelsea was fairly pointless as I suspect Chelsea feel much the same way about him – Chelsea still need to bring in someone to effectively replace Didier Drogba, once and for all.