Chelsea drew 0-0 at title rivals Manchester United last night and one of the biggest talking points of the night was Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho’s decision to start the game without a recognised out-and-out striker.
Instead Mourinho chose to use attacking midfielder/winger Andre Schurrle as the focal point of his attack.
Schurrle has played in a central striking position before, but it is not known as his best position.
The decision looked more like a message to Blues owner Roman Abramovich that Chelsea needs to invest in a new striker, before the transfer window shuts in less than a week.
Chelsea are believed to be targeting veteran Anzhi striker Samuel Eto’o, as well as attempting to prise Wayne Rooney away from Manchester United, after having two bids rejected for the England international.
Ironically it was Rooney who looked the most likely to break the deadlock in last night’s stalemate, as he put in an all-action display against the Blues. United boss David Moyes has stated that Rooney is not for sale.
However, it seems that Rooney still wants to leave the club. If he wanted to stay surely he would have stated his intentions by now? United would be extremely foolish to sell one of their biggest assets to their title rivals and everybody knows it.
Moyes knows that if Rooney goes to Chelsea, then it would probably motivate the striker to regain his best form and performances, in turn handing the Blues a big advantage in the title race. It remains to be seen if Rooney will leave Old Trafford for Stamford Bridge, but I certainly would not rule it out at this point.
Their other target Eto’o would surely be a stop-gap signing. The 32-year-old is also attracting the interest of Italian club Internazionale. The Cameroon international would provide the Blues with an experienced all-round-striker, who despite his age would probably still score goals at the highest level.
Eto’o is currently on one of the biggest wage packets of any footballer in world football and would have to take a wage cut to leave Anzhi, who are cutting costs after an incredible amount of spending in the last few years.
What seems strange is the fact that Chelsea are about to bring in yet another attacking midfielder in the shape of Anzhi’s Willian for a fee in the region of £30million, when in fact their need for a striker seems greater.
The other strange thing is that Juan Mata’s future has been in doubt in recent weeks, but Mourinho has now come out and stated that the Spaniard is going nowhere. There are two schools of thought about why Mata was not playing in last night’s game.
The first is that Mata must be out of favour with Mourinho and set to leave the club before the transfer window shuts next Monday. The second, lot more likely one is that Juan Mata was not completely match fit.
The Spaniard has struggled to take part in much of Chelsea’s pre-season and as a result missed the opening game of the season against Hull. Mata did play against Aston Villa in the middle of last week, but did not look his usual sharp self and was substituted.
I would be very surprised if Juan Mata left Chelsea before the transfer window closes, unless he was involved in a deal for Rooney, which would probably be the most likely deal to take place.
Even if Mata moved on is Willian really needed in a Chelsea squad full of attacking midfielders, especially when Mourinho seems to have made signing a striker his priority?
From Mourinho’s line-up for yesterday’s match it seems that the Portuguese boss is not a big fan of the strikers at his disposal. Senegalese striker Demba Ba was according to Sky Sports out injured, while Fernando Torres and youngster Romelu Lukaku were left on the bench.
Mourinho’s selection last night spoke volumes really. Torres is another player whose Chelsea future has been in doubt, but it seemed that he was Mourinho’s first choice to fill the lone striker role.
The Spaniard was expected to start last night’s clash, but only made a rather unimpressive cameo off the substitute’s bench. After being left out of such an important match for the Blues you have to wonder if Torres has a future at Stamford Bridge. If new strikers are brought in he may not.
Romelu Lukaku is a completely different kettle of fish to Torres. The young Belgium international has yet to be given a proper run in the Chelsea team. At just 20 years-old maybe Mourinho does not think he is ready to be Chelsea’s first choice striker, hence the interest in other strikers.
Lukaku scored 17 goals on-loan West Brom last season and looked impressive in a midtable Baggies team. The youngster has been described as the ‘new Drogba’ amongst other things, but is still very raw.
I have no doubt that Lukaku will have a big part to play for Chelsea this season. However, he may just be too young to shoulder the burden of the Chelsea attack, even if he is backed up by the likes of Eden Hazard and Oscar behind him.
Chelsea have been my favourites to win the Premier League title since Jose Mourinho returned to the Blues dugout. With or without a new striker, it is hard to argue that Chelsea still have a pretty impressive squad.
Something tells me that Jose Mourinho will get his wish of a new striker before the transfer window shuts though and that striker could just shoot the Blues to the Premier League title this season.
Will Chelsea sign a striker before the transfer window closes?