Stats: Who is the man to suffer when Costa joins Chelsea?

Fernando Torres

Opta stats show Demba Ba, not Fernando Torres or Romelu Lukaku, could make way for Diego Costa.

Keeping four strikers happy in a team that tends to play 4-2-3-1 is not an easy task. But when Diego Costa, as expected, completes his move to Chelsea, that's the conundrum that'll face Jose Mourinho.

Does he try to use all four or does he sell one? If it's the latter then who is sacrificed for the Blues' new leading light?

  Goals / appAssists / appBig Chance Missed / appAerial Duels Won / appMins
Romelu Lukaku 0.45 0.18 0.18 2.76 2,602
Demba Ba 0.26 0.05 0.26 1.42 661
Fernando Torres 0.18 0.18 0.21 2.43 1,571

As Opta stats show, it's a close contest. The man Chelsea splashed £50 million on in 2011, Fernando Torres, comes off worse in terms of goals scored in last season's Premier League.

Yet, in three other key categories, it is Demba Ba who struggles to compare to Torres and Romelu Lukaku (on loan at Everton last term). Indeed, the Senegalese striker registered less assists than his rivals, missed more big chances per game and won fewer aerial duels.

Of course, Ba also had far less playing time in which to gather some sort of rhythm, while his goals won matches, especially his strike in the Champions League quarter-finals against Paris Saint-Germain.

When other factors come into play, however, 30-year-old Torres is perhaps a figure more worth keeping than his team-mate.

Despite miserably failing to live up to his big-money tag at the worst of times during his career with the Blues, the Spaniard's big-game and European experience suggests he can offer plenty as a back-up striker. He can be profligate - but he works hard. In Europe last term, Torres scored four goals compared to Ba's three.

But a saving grace for Ba may exist when it comes to Mourinho's relationship with Lukaku - and when you consider the finances of the situation. With Chelsea showing an acute awareness of Uefa's Financial Fair Play rules, any striker sales would be done from the point of view of making the most money.

At 21, the talented Lukaku would without question raise more funds than either Torres or Ba. And if Mourinho continues to convey an air of indifference towards Lukaku (especially with Costa offering the same strength and ability in the air) the door may close on the Belgian's Chelsea career.

Based on the stats, however, Ba will be the man to go - leaving the Blues with a strikeforce containing Costa, Lukaku and Torres. Quite an upgrade, when you think back to this time last year.

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch