Image of Diego Costa

A last-minute attempt by Chelsea to sign Romero Lukaku at a time Manchester United were already at an advanced stage of completing the signing of the Belgian striker, spoke volumes of the uncertainty surrounding the future of their number one striker, Diego Costa ; and it also brought to light Chelsea’s desperation to bring a top-class striker to their team before next season started.

Reports of a simmering tension between Conte and the tempestuous Spanish forward have been making the rounds in the football grapevine for sometime . And unconfirmed report has it that Costa has been unblushingly flirting with Atletico Madrid and indulging in actions that are subversive of the club’s code of conduct.

One would have expected that the ebullient and charismatic nature of Conte would have endeared Costa to his new coach : to the extent of him offering the coach his unalloyed loyalty. Experience, however, has shown that obedience to constituted authority is seldom observed by the gifted ones in our world.

And just as the trite saying goes – all geniuses are mavericks. And a streak of of non-conformism is now seen as the hallmark of those who possess exceptional ability in any field of human endeavour.

Conte , as it appears, is not one to indulge the excesses of any player, no matter how talented.

To Conte’s credit, however, Costa’s rashness and inclination to take laws into his own hands during matches were manifestly  absent from his game last season.

The direct implication of Chelsea’s failed attempt to re-sign Lukaku, which is the major concern of this write-up, is that the club would now be working vigourously behind the scene to secure the signature of a striker of similar skill-set and tactical intelligence to replace the want-away Diego Costa.

Let us now take a look at three strikers that can slot seamlessly into Chelsea’s central forward position and be as prolific as Costa has been in the three seasons he has played at the London club.

Alvaro Morata

Strength

  • The Spanish international can be rightly described as a complete modern striker .

 

  • In terms of versatility, the forward can operate at the centre forward position and he is equally comfortable operating from either flanks.

 

  • His pace and dribbling skills enables him to rip apart defense lines with remarkable ease.

 

  • His wonderful sense of positioning inside the penalty box produces  a lot of goals ,which appears often times to the unpracticed eye as opportunistic.

 

  • Concerning his goal-scoring prowess, he has scored a double digits number of goals in the two seasons he spent at Juventus ;and when Real Madrid re-signed him last season, he scored twenty goals in all competitions despite the fact that he was not a regular starter.

Experience

  • On the score of experience: Morata learned and mastered the act of goal scoring from his involvements in youth football competitions for his native country.

 

  • He has experienced Champions League football with Juventus and Real Madrid, and won the trophy with the later in 2014.

 

  • He also won the Seria A twice with Juventus and two other domestic cup competitions.

 

  • At the inter-national scene, he has twenty caps for his country and nine goals to his credit. Morata participated in last year’s European Cup competition in France  where score a brace against Turkey.

Verdict

Should Chelsea sign Morata, they would be bringing into their team a player with the requisite experience,  goal-scoring intelligence and winning mentality. Although he lacks the aggressiveness Costa add to his play, but his slick touches and good positional sense make up for what he lacks in aggressiveness.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Strength

  • This Gabonese player is arguably one of the best strikers in the world.

 

  • Aubameyang, whose pace has once been described as almost equal to that of Usain Bolt, wrecks havoc on teams with his dribbling skills, lightning pace and good positional sense.

 

  • He shoots the ball with both feet with almost equal ease.

 

  • Aubameyang scores all types of goals and he is also good at scoring set-pieces. The one hundred and forty goals he has scored in his four seasons at Borussia Dortmund show how prolific a striker he is.

 

  • Aside his scoring ability, Aubameyang also gives a high number of assists in a season

Experience.

  • Aubameyang has played Europa League and Champions League football with Borussia Dortmund, and has scored regularly in both competitions.

 

  • A veteran of three African Nations Cup competitions : he is his country’s all-time highest goal scorer.

 

  • As a testament to his exceptional football talent : he was crowned the best Africa player for the 2012/13 football season.

 

  • In 2015, he was voted as African Footballer of the year.

VERDICT.

The Bundesliga may not have the same quality as the Barclays Premier League, but Aubameyang would flourish in the Premiership should Chelsea sign him.The Gabonese striker has scored goals against European elite clubs in both the Europa League and Champions League competitions; and should he lead Chelsea’s attack comprising the likes Pedro Rodriguez and Eden Hazard : he would score an unbelievable number of goals in a season.

Kylian Mpabbe

Strength

  • This French striker who caught the attention of the football world with his exploits at Monaco last season is a super-talented striker, with his best years still ahead of him.

 

  • Mbappe is polyfunctional : he can operate in any position in the attacking line.

 

  • Blessed with pace and trickery uncommon to most players of his age, Mbappe illuminates the football pitch with a football mastery that dazzles the onlooker.

 

  • Adept at shooting with both feet ; uncannily gifted in locating where the ball would land in the opponent’s penalty box ; precociously gifted in scoring all types of goals : Mbappe is uniquely equipped with the skill-set that can trouble any defense line.

 

  • Mpabbe has scored twenty seven goals in his two seasons at Monaco.

Experience.

Mbappe has achieved a lot since he signed for Monaco two seasons ago. Within the space of two years he has already won the Ligue 1 trophy with Monaco and played an active role in their Champions League campaign last season, which led to his being named in the UEFA Champion League Team of the season 2016-17. The youngster has earned his first cap for Les Blues at the age of eighteen years.

VERDICT

Despite the talent Mbappe has in abundance, he still a very young lad who can suffer burn-out if his playing-time is not well managed. This is a striker Chelsea should try to sign and then loan him to the current club for at least one season.

The other two strikers considered in this write-up are all reportedly available. Morata wants to leave Real Madrid so that he can get regular playing-time in another club. Borussia Dortmund have reportedly given leave to Aubameyang to get a new club after he told the club management he wanted out . So Antonio Conte should make a bid for either of them in the coming weeks. Admittedly, neither of them would come cheap : but since when was money an object when Chelsea desperately wanted to sign a player.