The Blues laid down the gauntlet on Monday night with a 1-0 win away at title rivals Manchester City, and there is a strong feeling that Jose Mourinho's men, who have yet to really play their best football this season, are about to embark on a title-winning run off the back of their impressive display at the Etihad Stadium.
A strong defensive performance and dangerous counter-attacking was reminiscent of when Mourinho won the title with Chelsea during his first spell at Stamford Bridge, and it would be all the more impressive as, so far this season, his strikers have failed to justify their reputations.
Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba have combined for just 11 league goals this season, and there is a very real possibility that none of them will be at the club next season. As a result, speculation has been rife that Mourinho will spend big on a new centre forward this summer, and the latest rumours make for worrying reading for the rest of the Premier League.
Reports suggest that Mourinho has put together a shortlist which contains Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani, Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa and Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukic. Whilst it's possible that Mourinho will add more than one striker to his ranks this summer, the report says that Mourinho will spend £40m on one striker this summer – but which of the three is best suited to Mourinho's side?
Mandzukic will seemingly leave the Allianz Arena upon the arrival of Borussia Dortmund hitman Robert Lewandowski this summer, and with Arsenal linked with a move for the Croatian, Chelsea could attempt to stump their rivals with a move – but given the calibre of the other players linked, Mandzukic may be the third choice in this situation, despite his impressive displays for Bayern over the past 18 months.
Cavani, who turns 27 next week, has continued his goalscoring exploits from his Napoli days with PSG, hitting 20 goals in just 29 games – which is even more impressive when you consider that manager Laurent Blanc persists on playing Cavani out wide in order to accommodate Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the lone striker. Cavani is reportedly unhappy with his role at the club, and could leave in the summer as a result. With pace, strength, great finishing and a strong work ethic – which Mourinho loves – the Uruguayan could be a great addition for Chelsea.
But the best option arguably lies in Madrid, as Diego Costa looks to fit the mould of a Mourinho striker perfectly. Costa has many of the attributes that Cavani does, but his ability to wind up the opposition – much like Mourinho does – would add another layer to Mourinho's generally unlikeable Chelsea teams over the years. Costa's impact could be something like Didier Drogba's, where defences hate to play against the strong and athletic forward who can aggravate the opposition in a number of ways.
The Brazilian-turned-Spaniard wouldn't come cheap, though the prospect of Fernando Torres returning to Atletico as his replacement could be enticing to the La Liga side. Costa looks to be the latest in a long line of great Atleti strikers, with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Torres, Sergio Aguero and Falcao all showing their goalscoring prowess with the Rojiblancos – and maybe it's a sign of things to come, with two of those playing for Chelsea in their illustrious careers...
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