Will Ba goal push other Chelsea striker closer to exit?

Fernando Torres

Chelsea qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League with a 1-0 win over Steaua Bucharest, giving them top spot in Group E.

Jose Mourinho's side now go into the draw on Monday with a tie against a runner-up in the offing, after Demba Ba's early goal gave the Blues the win over the Romanians.

Ba has been on the fringes of the Chelsea first team this season and has been linked with a number of clubs, including Arsenal, Valencia and former club West Ham, but his recent strikes against Southampton and Steaua could see him earn more playing time under Mourinho.

Chelsea's strikers have been struggling to hit the back of the net this season, with just four Premier League goals between the big name trio of Ba, Fernando Torres and summer signing Samuel Eto'o, whilst no Chelsea striker has scored a goal away from Stamford Bridge in the Premier League in the entirety of 2013.

As a result, Chelsea are reportedly scouring the transfer market in search of a goalscorer who can help them compete in both the Champions League and the Premier League, with Falcao the latest star to be linked with a move to West London.

But whilst Ba has been the main name linked with a departure, could his recent goals spell the end for Fernando Torres?

Bought for a whopping £50m in January 2011, Torres was expected to take Chelsea's strikeforce to the next level but despite some flashes of brilliance, the Spaniard has never been able to justify the pricetag, with just 39 goals in 147 games for the Blues. It does seem that Mourinho prefers to use Eto'o or Ba, with Torres only starting two Premier League games this season, and if his patience is wearing thin with the former Liverpool man then an exit may be on the cards.

There has been recent speculation suggesting that Monaco would be open to accepting Torres – or Ba – in a part exchange deal which would see Falcao head to Stamford Bridge. With an option to get a natural goalscorer in and offload a goalshy striker in the same deal, Chelsea have to be considering this avenue. The Colombian has hit over 150 goals in just short of 200 games across his spells with Porto, Atletico Madrid and now Monaco, and that kind of predatory instinct could be just what Chelsea need.

Whilst Ba may not be a household name across the globe like Torres is, Mourinho needs to take reputation and transfer fees out of the equation and realise that it's Torres – not Ba – that needs to be shown the exit if Chelsea still harbour ambitions of competing domestically and in Europe.

image: © wshjackson

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