5 strikers Tottenham and Chelsea may fight over in January

With similar deficiencies up front, both Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea may be targeting similar players. A Manchester United forward features…

1): Mario Balotelli

A cult hero to some, a controversial figure to others. Yes, it is fair to say that, in the calendar year that the fast-paced physical striking figurehead that is Mario Balotelli has featured for AC Milan, he has effectively shown his new side the best and the worst of him.

The best? The 23-year-old returned 12 goals from 13 appearances in the half-season he repped Milan from January 2013 to the end of that campaign. His strength has remained an asset in Champions League performances this season and he possesses an accurate shot.

The worst? Balotelli received a three match suspension recently for attempting to intimidate and insult an official. Team-mate Kaka has called on Mario to live up to his Super moniker and become a better role model.

The player, described as 'un-manageable', has been tenuously linked to Chelsea and has a transfermarkt.co.uk valuation of £26.5m.

See also: PICTURE: Spurs fan pops crude sign to Wenger, goes viral

2): Alexandre Pato

The former AC Milan forward returned to Brazil at the start of the year and, according to Corinthians, shunned an offer from Tottenham Hotspur to join the White Hart Lane outfit in the summer so that he could focus on completing the season in Sao Paulo.

Pato has performed admirably in the Libertadores… so much so, that he was recently recalled to the Brazil Selecao by manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. To ensure he retains Scolari's favour, in a department where Brazil are traditionally blessed, Pato could be keen on a winter window transfer.

A Spurs move makes sense as, on Pato's debut for Corinthians, he scored with his very first touch after receiving the ball from Paulinho, now of Tottenham… there is, therefore, familiarity already there. However, Chelsea, too, have been linked as recently as October.

He is valued at £10.5m by transfermarkt.co.uk.

See also: Revealed: How much extra does Ronaldo earn than Hazard, Rooney & Ozil?

3): Javier Hernandez

Forget about Wayne Rooney's potential availability over the summer and Chelsea's attempt to capture the Englishman as the forward has effectively made himself indispensable due to his elite-level performances this season. Considering Robin van Persie's ever-present nature in the Manchester United XI, what Rooney's form has done is freeze Javier Hernandez out of the picture.

Enter Spurs and Chelsea.

His international team-mate in Mexico, Carlos Vela, was quoted by The People this week to have said that, if Chicharito continues to play third fiddle at Old Trafford, then he 'needs to think about leaving [as] there will be big team in England and Europe wanting him.'

Rooney had all the attributes to succeed as a Jose Mourinho player, however, while Hernandez has a different playing style he would thrive on the service and chances created by players like Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Andre Schurrle and Willian.

He is a penalty-box poacher, a deadly hitman and would be well worth his £19.5m transfermarkt valuation, however, it is only Tottenham who have - to date - been associated with a move, as reported by Daily Mirror and The Independent.

See also: 5 changes Mourinho should make for the Schalke match

4): Christian Benteke

One of the greatest pieces of transfer business Aston Villa completed during the summer market had nothing to do with their seven-player recruitment, but was wholly down to the extension of Benteke's contract when there was relentless speculation surrounding his future and Spurs' interest.

That interested has not ebbed, according to a Daily Star report in late-October, while Chelsea, too, were linked a week before by the same paper.

Benteke is a fundamental part of the new wave of supreme Belgium soccer stars and his aerial ability, physical strength, passing style, ability to hold off the ball and, of course, his finishing, have all been commended.

Last season, Benteke was directly responsible for 23 goals (19 goals, four assists), in 2,823 minutes of the Premier League, which is an efficiency rate of one every 122 minutes. This season, he has four goals and no assists as of yet to his name from 597 minutes (one every 149 minutes).

His transfermarkt.co.uk valuation is £18.5m.

See also: Mou warns Spurs - Cech almost died, Liverpool lack depth & more

5): Demba Ba

Chelsea have a dilemma on their hands regarding Ba. If Spurs show further interest in Ba, as they did in the summer, do they refuse to do business with their fellow Londoners on the grounds that they would not wish to strengthen a rival? Or do they agree to the transfer as it would prevent Tottenham from potentially obtaining a greater striker… one Chelsea themselves are after?

 Ba has had a frustrating Blues career to date. Rarely provided opportunity to shine, he has completed just 138 minutes of Premier League football, being substituted off on both occasions. He is credited with two chance creations, one of which was an assist and remains an accurate striker of the football with 60% of his five shots finding the target (albeit saved).

It is the France-born Senegal international's form at Newcastle United and West Ham United, though, that bodes well for any future in the Premier League as he returned seven goals from 13 appearances in all competitions for the Hammers and scored 29 times for the Magpies.

He has a transfermarkt.co.uk value of £13m, but has been linked with an exit for as little as £7m.

image: © eschipul

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