Less than 48 hours after Didier Drogba scored arguably the two most important goals in Chelsea FC history, the club legend announced that he would not be signing a new contract with the team, telling French Football magazine that he is “readying myself for a great leap into the unknown. It will be another adventure."
The news did not come as any real surprise to many who thought the 34-year-old in the last year of his contract would not be with the club next season. It seemed as perfect time as ever for him to move on, especially given the results of Saturday night.
Though Drogba has distanced himself from the reports through his agent, there is still heavy speculation that he will be leaving this summer.
Chelsea must turn their attention forward and begin to see who will step into the take the Ivorian's spot. There is no one who can fill his shoes in terms of what he does both on the pitch and in the locker room, but the Blues will have to do their best to make up for it somehow.
Here are five players who could come in as the answer.
Why does Chelsea need to begin to look elsewhere when they have two very good (and expensive) strikers on their bench?
Fernando Torres got off to a rocky start this season and consequently lost the starting spot to Drogba. But he has had his bright moments this past campaign and is looking more and more like he could get back to his goal scoring ways. At the very least he helps create chances as he had an impressive 12 assists in all competitions, second most on the team.
His style of play may not match up quite perfectly to Drogba’s as he is not one to outmuscle defenders. But with a little adjustment he could figure in well. Perhaps a formation change that pairs him with Juan Mata in a more advance role.
Romelu Lukaku was brought to Chelsea to be the next Drogba. He is a massive kid and at 19 years old all he has to do is figure out how to harness that power. We rarely got the chance to see him in action, but when he was he looked pretty good.
His start on the final matchday was superb as he had an assist and was brilliant overall in the 2-1 win.
With these two already at the club there is no reason to immediately open the checkbook. Giving them their fair chance would be a good start.
One of the few pure No. 9’s left in the game, Cavani would come in and be one of the closest you can get to replacing Drogba in terms of talent. The Uruguayan is a big strong striker who bullies his way to go both through the air and outpacing defenders.
Chelsea got first-hand knowledge of how good he is this past season as he scored against them in the Champions League. He also scored a goal in Napoli’s 2-0 win against Juventus, giving the Old Lady her first loss of the season.
Cavani has been on Chelsea’s radar for a while now, and the signals are only likely to pick up with this recent news.
Another player with similar attributes, Falcao has turned the waves he started at Porto into a Tsunami at Atletico Madrid. In his first season in Spain the Colombian netted an incredible 36 goals in all competitions, just behind Messi and Ronaldo for the lead.
But what makes Falcao such an interesting proposition is the way he goes about getting his goals. In a league that prefers technical to the brute, Falcao plays with a combination of both, willing to jump over the back of a defender as much dribble one.
He is another Chelsea target who has even been rumored to be a part of a swap deal that would send Torres back to Spain.
Demba Ba was a standout player in the early half of last season for Newcastle, but the arrival of Papiss Cisse put him out on the fringes. He was still getting playing time, but was finding goals impossible to come by going scoreless in his last 15 matches.
Chelsea would offer him a change of scenery where he could rediscover that scoring mojo. He is a very talented player and has a knack for getting goals in bunches. He had four separate multi-goal games this last season.
Roman Abramovich has been rumored to be interested in bringing Ba south. If he can, many Chelsea fans would greet that with smiles.
Gonzalo Higuain has recently fallen out of favor at Real Madrid simply because Karim Benzema is playing so well ahead of him. But Higuain still poses a real goal scoring threat.
At age 24 there is still plenty of time for him to really develop into a prize striker. He has all the skills you would want in one and has loads of experience at a high level given his youth. In 220 matches for Madrid he has already scored 103 goals.
Higuain is reported to be in talks with Los Blancos over his future. Chelsea is a rumored destination if those talks break down.
That is a pretty loaded question since no one can really do so. Drogba was a unique figure in football and life in gerenral. Few people were as passionate about everything they do as he was. It paid off with one of the best careers the sport has ever seen.
But things will move on and the club must look for their next great goal scorer. Do you think it is someone on this list or someone else?
As always, please leave your comments below and thanks for reading!
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