This is the second in a two part series that tries implementing a design process to find the answer to our infamous "striker problem". If you haven't read that yet, you can do so here: Analysing The Great Chelsea Striker Conundrum - Part I. That ended with a blind poll of skill-sets with no mention of the player it represented. We'll resume with the poll results. Before that though, I'd like to define the challenge once again so that we retain sight of what it is that we are attempting to address.
Chelsea need to find a long term solution to scoring goals against tight defences ( a tactic often employed by smaller clubs) and doing so in a way that can possibly improve our results when teams set out to attack us as well ( a tactic often employed by the big teams).
Step 3: Prototyping (Poll Results)
As part of the design process, it was imperative to test the different options available. We did this in the form of a poll. Some people were quite curious and looked up who was who. To these people: thank you for not revealing the results :)
Please note: The results of the poll as specified below reflect the opinions of the community at WAGNH and are in no way altered by any bias that I may have.
I took the results at 6:30 AM GMT (had some trouble closing the poll). Ranked in ascending order, they are as follows:
8. Skill-set 8:
He got a grand total of ZERO votes. The Kraken may have outscored our entire current crop of strikers but in the words of a wise man:
Playing for Everton is not the same as playing for Chelsea.
7. Skill-set 7:
While there has been confusion around his age and has had a relatively indifferent season at Monaco fuelled by niggling injuries, Radamel Falcao remains a big name and a big player. His skill set however, is not one we're looking for.
6. Skill-set 1:
Diego Costa's arrival at Chelsea has seemed to be a mere formality for months now. With recent reports suggesting that it's still far from completion, a lot of people here don't want him at Chelsea. And with only 3% of the votes, clearly the community at WAGNH doesn't think that Costa is the answer to our troubles. If this transfer does go through though, and odds are they will, I really hope Jose sees something we don't.
5. Skill-set 5:
His name has been mentioned in comments section every time the discussion about a striker comes up with a lot of people excited about his potential and what he may bring to our squad. Super Mario received 8% of votes, and was neck and neck with the next guy for quite a while. Quite a few people here think that his skill-set isn't what we need. Sure, he can score screamers, and is brilliant on his day but is probably not the best solution for Chelsea.
4. Skill-set 3:
The most expensive striker of the lot and the one we all would like to add to our squad on paper, Edinson Cavani just about finished in the top half of the results. His skill-set is not deemed to be the best fit. "What's in a name?"
3. Skill-set 4:
His performances at the World Cup have been of the highest level and in a blind poll he comes in third having received 11% of the votes. That is still not enough though and he's behind the top two by quite a margin. It is also worth noting that while Karim Benzema's contract expires in a year, he's had his share of differences with Mourinho (apparently Jose called him a "cat", he didn't take it too kindly). He's spoken out in favour of Ancelotti, and looks likely to sign an extension at Madrid.
2. Skill-set 6:
He's got one foot out of the door at Bayern and there have been rumours about our interest in him. Many have spoken out in favour of the big man, and these results will only serve as proof of what we know already. Mario Mandzukic possesses the skill-set we're looking for and should definitely be a transfer target.
1. Skill-set 2:
He was in the options only to make up and the numbers at first and maybe because I like the guy, but ended up with over a third of the votes and the most popular of the lot. Fresh, controversial, surprising, and what some may even consider inaccurate, Edin Dzeko, yes Edin Dzeko seems to be the answer. Edin has most of the attributes we're looking for in a striker and if this poll is anything to go by, he should be our top transfer target.
Side note: At one point, Hilario had more votes than Costa, Lukaku, Cavani and Falcao COMBINED. Thank goodness for dilution. He lapped up 7% of the votes.
Step 4: Comparison Studies and Cost-Benefit
Having identified the players with the skill-sets we are looking for, let's compare the two in further detail to find out which of the two would be the better pick.
*The stat below called "Beat the bus" shows the number of goals scored against teams in the bottom half of the league. (I know it might not entirely accurate, but I haven't really watched all the City and Bayern games to know which team parked the bus. Feel free to add to this.)
*The currency is GBP.
Mario Mandzukic's FFP hit has been calculated as follows:
- He's on absurdly low wages of 55K a week and which is why he seeks a move. With Arsenal's reported interest, and the fact that he might be looking to double that, we'll assume his wages to be 100K a week. This takes his yearly salary to 5.2 M.
- He would be looking for a 3-4 year contract to take him up to 32, and that takes his wage component to 20.8 M.
- Given that he wants to leave bayern, we could see his market price fall to 15M which takes his total cost to 35.8 M.
- Spread over the duration of his contract, this gives us an annual FFP hit of 8.95 M.
Edin Dzeko's annual FFP hit has been calculated as follows:
- Given that he's already on a 120K contract, he would definitely command Torresian wages in the range of 150-175K. I've taken the higher end of that range for this calculation which amounts to 9.1 M a year.
- At his age, he would be looking for a 4 yr contract to take him to 32, thus taking it to 36.4 M over the course of the contract.
- Transfermarkt values him at 20M. His contract expires in 2015, but given Pellegrini wants him to extend, Chelsea are going to have to pay the whole amount to prize him away from the club.
- That takes the total to 56.4 M, and over a 4 year contract the FFP hit would be about 14.1 M/yr.
Interestingly Mourinho is an admirer of Edin Dzeko and had this to say when the cannibal won the Player of the Year:
My player of the year would be always from the champion, always, in every condition, always a player from the champion, representative of the champion, so if the champion is Man City - I would say a City player, and if I have to choose one, I think I would choose Dzeko.
Why? Because he was the third striker in the beginning of the season, he was even behind his manager's first choices and when the team needed him, in crucial moments of the season, or because of Negredo's luttle moments or lack of form, and other important players injuring during the season - I think Silva was injured, Toure was injured - he made the difference.
He made the difference, Dzeko. In this moment, I think he has 16 goals. Sixteen goals for the third striker is something spectacular, and not just that, the quality of his game.
So if I would choose, and also the kind of player he is, he's not just a goal-scorer, he assists, he plays, he behaves, he's fair, he doesn't dive, doesn't try to put opponents on the stands with accumulation of card. I would choose Dzeko.
Yay Brownie points! Lots of brownie points.
Step 5: Risk Analysis
Having understood these players from a footballing perspective, let's compare the two in terms of the risk each of them present.
- Performance Risk: High
He's unproven in the premier league and that leaves some room for doubt.
- Financial Risk: Low
He's relatively cheaper and as such the financial risk is lower.
- Performance Risk: Low
He's a proven Premier League striker and would find it relatively easy to adapt.
- Financial Risk: High
He presents a Torres level threat. If things don't go as hoped for whatever reason, we would have another dead weight on our books for the same duration. Torres x 2.
Step 6: Implementation ImpactBoth these strikers are the same age and just about peaking. While they may be firing throughout the length of their 4 year contracts, there's also the chance that they don't. Also, none of them present a long term solution and we would have to commence our search again for another top quality striker. Mandzukic, being the cheaper option of the two means that we would have more funds available when we do start looking around. But having said that, we don't really have a problem with our finances and could easily afford to sign a more expensive player as well.
When that happens, I know I'll be hoping that either Romelu Lukaku can take on that mantle if he's still with the club till such time or our good friend Pep Guardiola has had a fall out with Lewandowski (here's a link to his whoscored page) which sees him take a chopper to Cobham.
Step 7: The DecisionIf it were up to me, I'd pick Dzeko. He knows his way around the league and can come up with the goods when required. He seems to be mentally stronger than Fernando, and I would put my faith in him leading the line at Chelsea next season and doing a bloody good job of it. He's expensive, but I think he would bring us goals and in light of Mourinho's comments recently that he wants to finish first, I believe he should be our top target. I know we've got our risk taking apatite ruined, but in my opinion, Edin Dzeko will not become Torres 2.0. But, to each his/her own.
That brings and end to what has ended up becoming a really long post. I have had a lot of fun writing and presenting this to you. Hope you enjoyed reading it just as much. Would love to get your thoughts on the topic. Feedback regarding the presentation, analysis and content of this post would be much appreciated as well :)
Thanks for reading.