Maurizio Sarri doesn’t think he has a striker problem and doesn’t plan to recall either struggling Michy Batshuayi or red-hot Tammy Abraham from loan.
On Sunday Olivier Giroud went down with what looked like an ankle sprain, and is so far without a prognosis or timeline for recovery. That has left just two options for the center forward position: Álvaro Morata, who hasn’t scored since November 4th and missed five matches with a knee injury prior to replacing the injured Giroud on Sunday, and Eden Hazard who has thrived in the middle with three goals and three assists in four starts. But he can’t play every match.
Sarri, however, isn’t looking for reinforcements from the loan army.
“We have Morata and Hazard can play very well in this position as we have seen in the last two, three matches, so I think that in the moment I don’t need another striker.
“Maybe another winger, because now we are in trouble with the injuries of Pedro, of Odoi, Loftus, so I have the option and what an option for the striker, but at the moment I have no option for the wingers.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Football.London
Meanwhile, Tammy Abraham has gone nuclear. On Tuesday he scored twice more in Aston Villa’s 2-2 draw with QPR, and is now joint-top scorer in the Championship with 16 goals despite missing the first six matches of the season.
Neither goal was spectacular, just solid center forward play. The first came on a header in the 21st minute, Tammy’s speed and height stressing the centreback, giving his club the lead.
In the 75th minute he rescued a point by getting on the end of an Anwar El Ghazi cross and poking it home.
Tammy may be meeting expectations by pouring in the goals in the second tier once again, but it appears, and rightly so, that Chelsea would rather keep that arrangement and not scupper Villa’s season. Villa boss Dean Smith certainly expects it to continue.
“I’ve not heard that [Tammy is interested in returning to Chelsea in January]. We’re very happy with the way he’s playing, he is, too. You can see the connection he has with the supporters and the staff here..
“Chelsea seem happy too because he’s developing as a player and scoring in this league. For all three parties it is a win-win. I’d be amazed if anything happens to stop that.”
“[...] Keeping him here is not in my control. If Chelsea want to recall him, that’s up to them. I can’t control that. But the conversations I’ve had with him is that he’s really enjoying it as a player and is happy here.”
Dean has also shot down silly speculation that Chelsea would be looking to sell Abraham, who’s under contract with the Blues until 2022.
“I’m of the understanding that they’re not looking to sell him. He’s having a good loan spell here and hopefully that will only get better as the season goes on.”
-Dean Smith; source: Birmingham Mail
While Abraham’s future appears to be clear, certainly as far as the rest of this season is concerned, Batshuayi is in a much worse and a much more complicated situation. Valencia consider him surplus to requirements and Sarri appears to still have no use for him. Presumably another loan will be arranged for the rest of the season (but not to Crystal Palace, who reportedly passed on the opportunity).