The Daily Mail had a very loose link involving Chelsea FC and CSKA striker Seydou Doumbia recently, he's a name I'd imagine many of you aren't overly familiar with, so I thought I'd give you a little introduction. Doumbia is an Ivorian international who turned 24 on the last day of 2011. Like Hulk, Doumbia took a bit of an unusual path to Europe. He began his career in the Ivory Coast, becoming the top division's leading scorer at the age of 18. He was then sold to J-League club Kashiwa Reysol, the current home of personal favorite Hiroki Sakai*. He'd be utilized primarily as a winger there due to his unbelievable speed and quality dribbling, but his finishing was a bit raw. He still managed 10 goals in his 2 seasons in Japan (mostly as a substitute), and his decent production combined with his physical gifts drew the eye of Swiss club Young Boys.
*I'm pretty sure I can find a way to fit Sakai into every post I do today should I so choose...
Doumbia would join Young Boys in the summer of 2008. He'd spend 2 full seasons in Switzerland, twice being named the leagues player of the year and twice leading the league in scoring. CSKA would swoop in the summer of 2010, and Doumbia would join the Moscow club for the stretch run of their season. He looked very good during the run in, and was a regular starter by the time the 2011/12 season was set to get underway. The results? He ended up leading the Russian Premier League in scoring and being named as the league's player of the year.
CSKA now have an extremely valuable asset on their hands, and we'll take a look at why. Doumbia stands 5'10, a little short for a center forward but fairly ideal for a winger. He's a freakish athlete, likely one of the 4 or 5 fastest players in Europe. He's an outstanding leaper, fairly strong for his size, and has an exceptional work rate for an attacker. I'd compare him to our own Ramires with an extra injection of pace.
What Doumbia lacks is true top flight experience. He's been steadily progressing up the food chain, and he was actually fairly impressive in CSKA's Champions League run this year. His experience at that level is limited though, something that's always a concern when large price tags are attached. Another concern would be the fact that every other winter he'll be leaving for the ACoN. We've been down that road before, so most of us here should know exactly what to expect in that regard.
Positionally speaking, Doumbia is fairly versatile. While he's played mainly in a center forward role throughout his time in Europe, he's also got experience on both wings. The Young Boys system led to quite a bit of interchange within the front line, so I'd imagine he'd have the ability to fill the sort of role that fellow Ivorian Salomon Kalou will be vacating for Chelsea. The CSKA system led to him being used in a primarily central role, but he didn't seem to struggle with that at all.
Technically Doumbia is a nice looking player as well. His finishing has looked very good in his time in Europe, and his passing and dribbling have been pretty solid as well. I'd love to see his first touch improve a bit, but it's hard to picture that not happening as he plays less games on an artificial surface. The one big knock on him early on was a bit of a slow reaction to what he was seeing, but that does appear to have improved with experience. He always had the ability to make up for slow recognition with his phenomenal athleticism, although that will be less and lees overwhelming as he continues to progress up the ladder in Europe. Things would certainly happen faster on the pitch in England, so this may be something to watch out for if the club does in fact add Doumbia this summer.
Enough of my thoughts though, here's a video of his touches in the Champions League against Inter Milan:
Here we have the same type of thing against Lokomtiv Moscow:
Again with the all touches theme, here's Doumbia against Rubin Kazan:
Need more video? Here's Doumbia against Volga Nizhny Novgorod:
As always, I prefer these types of videos that don't simply pull hilight reel stuff and instead focus on all of his work for an entire game. That won't stop me from giving you one more though, this one with loads of Doumbia goals:
By now you ought to be a little more familiar with the player in question. He'd certainly fill a need for Chelsea, as he'd provide valuable cover for Fernando Torres and for both wings. He'd be an exceptional threat on the counter attack, a pairing of he and Ramires would be nightmare worthy for slower defenders. That said, I'm not so sure he'd step into the Chelsea starting 11 from the day he arrived, and that's always something to consider when talking about the price tag he'd potentially carry.
Personally, I'd be extremely excited to see us add Doumbia to the squad at the right price. It's a big step up in class, but the Ivorian has all the tools necessary to make that leap and excel in the process. With that in mind, I haven't yet seen anything to convince me that we're heavily targeting Doumbia. We'll keep our eyes open though, and let you know if we do. Feel free to discuss Doumbia below in the comments section below.