Six strikers Chelsea should consider signing in the January transfer window
Following Guus Hidink’s admission that Chelsea are in the market for a striker in January, Jon Turner looks at the possible options the Premier League champions might consider.
Alexandre Lacazette — Lyon
If it is goals Chelsea and Guus Hiddink desire, they could do worse than make an approach to Lyon for France striker Lacazette. Last season produced 27 goals in 33 Ligue 1 appearances, which followed a 2013/14 campaign that resulted in 15 goals from 36 games. This season has not been quite as prolific from the 24-year-old, with 7 in 16, but there is little doubting the forward’s ability in front of goal. Lacazette would not break the bank either, as seen by Newcastle’s accepted £18 million (Dh95.44m) bid this month, although the player himself rejected the chance to join the Tyneside club. Whether Lacazette would settle for a place on the Chelsea bench could be a stumbling block.
Saido Berahino — West Bromwich Albion
Young, English, talented, and a natural finisher, Berahino should have clubs queuing out the door for his services. The 22-year-old enjoyed an impressive breakout season last year, scoring 20 goals in all competitions as opposition defences struggled to deal with his blistering pace and mobility. This season, however, is a different story. Doubts over his professionalism and attitude have surfaced following West Brom’s refusal to accept an offer from Tottenham, and Berahino has been restricted to just eight league starts. Despite the ongoing fallout with West Brom, Berahino will still command a sizeable fee, but if Chelsea believe he can regain his focus, he may be worth the risk given his age and Premier League experience.
Javier Hernandez — Bayer Leverkusen
What a season the Manchester United ‘reject’ is having. Disposed by United manager Louis van Gaal last summer, and picked up by Bayer Leverkusen for £12m, Hernandez has scored 24 goals in all competitions so far this season. If a predator in the box is what Chelsea are looking for, then few fit the bill better than Mexico international Hernandez. Given his experience of the Premier League, and his well-known hard-working attitude, the risk factor with signing Hernandez would be minimal. However, Leverkusen are understandably reluctant to lose their leading striker so a mid-season move would be costly.
Bojan — Stoke City
A bright start to his Stoke City career was curtailed by a serious knee injury that ruled him out for the second half of last season, but Bojan has returned to the side this campaign and proved a vital component of the attack. A return of 5 goals in 15 league appearances is far from prolific, although it is Bojan’s all-round game and link-up play that has drawn so much praise. The Spanish forward would be a good fit for Chelsea, who can deploy him either as a centre-forward leading the line or behind the striker. Stoke have dismissed reports that a £10m buyout clause exists in Bojan’s contract, but if it proves the club are bluffing, it could prove a shrewd investment.
Gonzalo Higuain — Napoli
Now this is an ambitious prospect. Hiddink’s assertion that Chelsea are looking for cover for Costa and Remy would change dramatically if they were to land Argentine striker Higuain. Established as one of the leading strikers in world football, Higuain has scored 18 goals in 19 Serie A games this season for Napoli, the same amount he scored all of last season. Napoli will not want to sell their star man midway through the season, although with Higuain now 28, a big money offer in the region of £50m-60m could tempt the Italians into negotiations. An ambitious target, but would be a big statement of intent from the struggling champions.
Alexandre Pato — Sao Paulo (on loan from Corinthians)
Once regarded as the latest in Brazil’s long line of striker royalty, Pato’s career went into steep decline as he endured numerous battles with injury. Still only 26, Pato is returning to the form that saw him hit the heights at AC Milan, and it has not gone unnoticed. Tottenham, Liverpool, and Manchester United have all been credited with an interest in Pato, and he could be an option for Chelsea. The Brazilian connection would help him settle, and he would be a cheaper alternative to the likes of Hernandez or Higuain. Given the physicality of the Premier League, there would be question marks over his ability to handle its rigours, but there is not doubting his talent.
Updated: January 13, 2016 04:00 AM