A month or so ago, Steve wrote a piece on how Chelsea shouldn't be going for centre forwards in the transfer market. Although the likes of Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani are fantastic players, the team needs an overhaul and pure strikers don't actually have much of an impact on play, and Steve's argument was that the Blues should be focusing on upgrading positions that have more of an influence on the match than dropping a tonne of money on a big name centre forward.
By and large, that argument holds true. True number nines are overpriced in terms of what they can do for a team. If you need lots of help, you're better off reinforcing elsewhere and treating a centre forward as something to add after everything else is done. But sometimes it doesn't. We've seen that with Didier Drogba, who could change games on his own with his sheer strength. Sometimes, a centre forward is more than just a centre forward. That's not true of Cavani, Falcao, or even Robin van Persie. But it is true of at least one player in Europe: Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
I've been wanting to write about Zlatan for a while, and now I have the opportunity: Tuttosport are claiming that he's interested in coming to Chelsea. Now, Tuttosport are not a good source, and there's no evidence that Chelsea are interested or that AC Milan want to sell, so don't take this as anything approaching fact. There's no evidence that it's even remotely true.
But with that said, it's a fun rumour to play with. Now that Milan have re-signed Thiago Silva, they're left with one major asset to sell, and that's Zlatan. My understanding of the finances of Italian football are somewhat limited, but it certainly seems Milan are going to have trouble with financial fair play, and a major sale could help them out rather a lot.
What about us? Should we want Zlatan? From a financial perspective, probably not. He's 30 years old, has never played in the Premier League, will be expensive in both transfer fees and wages, and we already have Fernando Torres playing for us.
But, if you'll allow me to look at things from a fan perspective, there's not much you could do to make Chelsea better right now than adding Ibrahimovic to the mix. He doesn't have a good reputation in England thanks to a hearty dose of media xenophobia, but he's an absolutely phenomenal centre forward, able to dominate a defence, set up his teammates and score goals out of nothing.
Honestly, if we were looking to add a striker, I don't think you could do much better in terms of pure ability than Zlatan. The idea of a front three of him, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard buzzing around and dragging defences everywhere fills me with something alarmingly similar to religious ecstasy. Sure, he's got an ego on him and he's difficult to manage, but his sheer ability more than makes up for any problems he brings with him.
If there's any chance we can somehow get rid of Torres and bring in Ibrahimovic, I think we should do it. He'd be much better suited for breaking down defences than would Torres, and if you think that our Spaniard is a centre forward who can create opportunities... well, you haven't seen anything yet.
Yes, Zlatan's an acquired taste, and yes, assuming Chelsea could land him without worrying about cost or age is silly. This has a one in several thousand chance of happening, and it shouldn't, for all sorts of reasons. But since we're being (extremely loosely) connected with him by the Italian press now... COME TO ME MY SWEET SWEDISH PRINCE.