Despite the news that the West Londoners have signed highly-rated Bayer Leverkusen forward Andre Schurrle for £18 million, Mourinho will likely still have a lengthy shopping list in his pocket heading into July.
The Blues have desperately required a quality striker to spearhead their front line since the departure of Didier Drogba. Fernando Torres and January signing Demba Ba have, effectively, failed to make the grade at Stamford Bridge and if Chelsea intent to challenge for the Premier League title under Mourinho, he’ll need to bring in at least one more reinforcement up front.
The Blues have been heavily linked with Napoli’s Edinson Cavani whose release clause could be activated for a mere £53.5 million. Whilst the Blues have no shortage in cash, that price is a little on the hefty side but if Mourinho and owner Roman Abramovich really mean business, they couldn’t really hope for a better target.
Since Radamel Falcao signed for AS Monaco and Neymar signed for Barcelona, the available options at the highest level are now Cavani and Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski who has also been linked with a move to England.
Manchester United along with Dortmund’s Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich are understood to be chasing the Polish striker who is valued around £30 million. As 24, Lewandowski is an exciting prospect but two years his senior, Cavani is hitting the peak of his powers.
In my estimation, Cavani would be the kind of signing to pack the punch Drogba did in recent years – he’s strong and powerful and more of a force in the box than his Polish counterpart. Lewandowski has immense quality but he is more of a poacher than Cavani. The Uruguayan is more of a Premier League-style centre-forward and would suit Chelsea ideally.
Manchester City were rumoured to be interested in him but it looks as though that interest has been cooled in recent weeks. Whilst Cavani would be the more expensive, I can’t think of a more dangerous option for Chelsea.
Cavani is what they wanted in Torres for £50 million in 2011. He is what they wanted in Ba in January for £7 million. He has the capability of becoming the top scorer in the English top tier, no doubt about it.
Rumours that Mourinho is chasing Hulk of Zenit could be interesting but, he’s not matched his form from 2010/11 at Porto and I would still see Cavani as the better option.
Meanwhile, Chelsea are linked with two highly-rated young French centre-backs in Eliaquim Mangala of Porto and Kurt Zouma of Saint-Etienne. Whilst obviously the priority will be another forward, a long-term replacement for John Terry has to be considered.
If I were to pick one of the two, I’d probably opt for 18-year-old Zouma – he’s two years Mangala’s junior and could develop under the likes of Terry, David Luiz and Gary Cahill until he’s genuinely ready to make the step up.
I see no desperate requirement for 22-year-old Mangala – if Mourinho really likes him, he’d be better off letting him continue his development at his former club Porto until he’s more mature and experienced. He’s unlikely to get regular access to first-team football at Stamford Bridge and that would only be detrimental to his development.
Obviously Mourinho should do his utmost to sign Cavani, maybe even use Torres as a bargaining chip if he can but, if that deal falls through, I’d expect the Blues to turn their attention more seriously to Lewandowski. Whilst Schurrle’s signing will have a substantial impact up front, I still think there is a requirement for another top quality out-and-out striker.
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