Despite a lack of concrete links, Edin Dzeko has somehow become a runaway favourite for a move to Chelsea. Sky Sports are reporting that betting has gone mad on the Bosnian international, with odds slashed from 20/1 down to 8/11 on the 27-year-old making a move to Stamford Bridge this summer.
Why? I'm not entirely sure. I haven't seen anything solid connecting Dzeko with the Blues -- the closest I can find are pieces like this one, which cite both Dzeko and Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic as potential transfer targets. But assuming someone out there knows a lot more than I do, which should be everyone's default assumption, what would I make of a Dzeko move?
Firstly, I'm not sure how much he'd cost. He's a Manchester City player, which means his wages are already high, and one can't expect his transfer fee to be too much lower than it was when Wolfsburg sold him for £27 million in January 2011. If he goes for silly money, it would be a stupid idea. Less silly (£12 million and wages shy of £100,000 a week, for example) and the deal starts looking more palatable.
Dzeko's scuffled at City for a while, but I'm still a big fan. His movement is excellent, his finishing is fine and he might have been the best forward in the Bundesliga when he last played there. His playing time has been limited thanks to the presence of Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero, but he's made the most of being a substitute, proving himself as an impact player off the bench. He'd certainly help Chelsea.
At the same time, I'd be very wary of picking up a Manchester City castoff, and I question what he really offers over, say, Demba Ba, whose goalscoring record in the Premier League (and general style of play) is comparable to Dzeko's. That Ba is going through a rough patch is undeniable, but there's no reason to take Dzeko over him in the short turn. Strikers are inherently streaky, and although having lots makes it possible to mitigate some of the effects of barren runs, paying through the nose for more depth is a bit silly.
Then there's the issue of what Manchester City might do should they sell Dzeko. One might suspect that that would leave them in pole position to sign Edinson Cavani from Napoli, a development which would be rather unwelcome at Stamford Bridge. Cavani's a clear upgrade over every striker in the league not named Robin van Persie, and enabling him to go to City by picking up Dzeko would be... not particularly smart from Chelsea's perspective.
In the long term, most of us expect Romelu Lukaku to cement his place as Chelsea's first-choice centre forward anyway. The idea of getting a striker in to supplement the attack while Lukaku develops isn't a bad one, and in a vacuum I wouldn't mind having Dzeko on the time. But context -- especially competitive context -- matters and I'd be really wary of this deal. Sorry, Edin!