Chelsea’s striker search is moving through the gears and starting to achieve cruising. Every day seems to bring a new target, every hour a new rumor. Here’s a brief round-up of the past 24 hours.
First, after West Ham confirmed Andy Carroll’s ankle injury — not fake news, as the Mirror initially claimed — Chelsea were briefly linked with Peter Crouch. Or perhaps the Telegraph were just trolling us. Either way, Stoke have moved quickly to shut that down, thankfully, telling Sky Sports they have had no inquiry or approach from Chelsea. They can certainly keep him until the end of his playing days.
A name that’s slightly less laughable than Crouch is Christian Benteke, and that’s a rumor we’ve heard before, even, back in the summer. Benteke is a good friend of Eden Hazard, so he’s got that going for him. But he’s also basically Crystal Palace’s only fit striker these days, so unless Palace move to sign players (and they’ve been linked with at least Diafra Sakho), this is a non-starter.
Chelsea are looking for a target man (a dying race ) as a back-up striker, but Crystal Palace are not keen on losing him:— Kristof Terreur (@HLNinEngeland) January 19, 2018
✔️ Premier League experience
✔️ Relatively young (27)
✔️ Eden Hazard’s best friend
✔️ Open for a move
✔️ Antonio Conte rates him#cfc #cpfc pic.twitter.com/zR9b1xpUnG
As Terreur points out, the target man that Conte apparently so desires is a dying breed. There are simply not too many examples left and certainly not too many that would generate anything beyond scornful laughs.
One player who might buck that trend is Edin Dzeko, who’s hit the form of his life at AS Roma over the past couple seasons. He scored 39 goals in all competitions last season, and as we witnessed first-hand when Roma came to the Bridge to draw 3-3 with the Blues, he can indeed be rather excellent. The man who used to be known as the lamppost when he was at City has turned into a Ballon d’Or nominee.
So when Gianluca Di Marzio dropped his bombshell late in the day, people got excited: Chelsea, who were already linked with Roma left back Emerson, have apparently begun negotiations for Dzeko as well. Our offer: €50m + Batshuayi on loan for Dzeko and Emerson. Emerson alone was linked at around €25-30m, so we’re basically offering the same for the striker with the short-term Batshuayi sweetener.
Di Marzio claims that Roma want at least €65m in such an arrangement however, and that’s before we consider that Dzeko is 31 and thus past the point where Chelsea offer long-term contracts to players. Dzeko is also a nailed on starter at Roma, so it’s unlikely that he’d want to come to Chelsea just for a year or year and a half to sit on the bench, even if his paycheck was significantly higher. But hey, at least this is a more fun proposition to discuss than Carroll or Crouch or whatever other washed-up English striker we might inquire about next. Is Grant Holt available?