Chelsea Conundrum: To Sign or Not to Sign Radamel Falcao
I'm not sure how well I recollect, but I think these were the thoughts running through my head at the time:
The ball is floated in, and Fernando meets it with his head. It's in. An opportunistic strike, that. But then, he did blow that clear-cut chance only a few minutes back, failing to get even a shot away when put through on goal by Frank. What was that all about?
Well, of course, it is the home game against Norwich that I'm talking about. Fernando Torres continues to be something of an enigma, thrilling and baffling in equal measure.
Being a world-class striker entails finishing off whatever comes your way. Indecision has been not been any ordinary hurdle for the Spaniard; it has been the primary stumbling block since he started donning the blue shirt of Chelsea.
Think of the best finishers in the world right now. Lio Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are obviously right up there, and then you have the likes of Mario Gomez and Robin Van Persie. Radamel Falcao does not lag far behind. In fact, I feel inclined to say that he's as good, if not better, than the latter two.
Falcao has a lot going for him right now. He may not have the diabolic left foot of Messi, or the speed of Ronaldo, but his aerial ability is par excellence, and he does happen to be ambidextrous. A wily fox in the box, I'd say.
At 26 years of age, he is arguably in his prime, and the next three or four years could yet be the best of his career. It is possible that his purchase proves to be just what the doctor ordered for Chelsea.
It is believed that club owner Roman Abramovich is ready to sanction a deal to bring Falcao to West London come January. Given all the creative talent that the club has acquired over the summer gone by, one could be tempted to argue that the Colombian's arrival would leave the Blues with the most potent attack in Europe.
Wasn't it Didier Drogba who was known for raising his game when it mattered? Well, Falcao's no different.
Talk about rising to the occasion. The Europa League has been where he has taken center stage, for he is not far off Hendrik Larsson's record tally of goals in the continent's second-most prestigious club competition (as indicated by this document prepared and maintained by Roberto Mamrud, Davide Rota and Jarek Owsianski).
He has scored in the last two finals, and bagged a pair of winners' medals in the process.
More recently, Falcao decimated Chelsea almost by himself when Athletico took on the European champions in the UEFA Super Cup nearly two months back, scoring a hat trick in a 4-1 rout.
Now, there are two sides to every coin.
Let us come face-to-face with reality: 107 goals in three seasons is indeed an astonishing figure, but £46 million is, in all honesty, an exorbitant sum of money to splash on any individual when there are Financial Fair Play guidelines to adhere to.
Chelsea spent their Champions League winnings on squad reinforcements, but with the ultimate objective of breaking even in the near future, is this piece of business really what the club needs? It will throw Torres' future into uncertainty.
If such a deal were to be struck, El Nino could be confined to oblivion again.
In all fairness to him, Torres has been scoring decisive goals, whatever be the stature of the opposition. He has six goals to his name in 12 matches. If he can maintain that rate of a goal every two games through the season, Chelsea will be in with a good chance for silverware.
As a blue through and through, I like to remind myself of the goal that he rammed in with his right foot against Newcastle. There was some rhythmic certainty about the way he combined with Eden Hazard there.
Even if we were to put Torres aside for a minute, Roberto Di Matteo still has at his disposal Daniel Sturridge, Victor Moses and Lucas Piazon.
Sturridge, I feel, will thrive as lone striker. The selfishness attributed to him would be put to good use there, and he is, by no stretch of the imagination, a subpar deputy for Torres.
Moses can fill in when needed, as he has the physical presence to lead the line, while Piazon is arguably the most talented teenager at Chelsea right now.
And when the impressive Romelu Lukaku returns from a loan spell at West Brom, there will be adequate cover at center forward.
Should Chelsea go for Radamel Falcao?
In light of this point, Radamel Falcao may not be what the club needs; he may just be diametric opposite of that. A move for him could upset the balance and harmony that Di Matteo and Eddie Newton have done so well to generate at SW6.
Nonetheless, a mate of mine remarked, "If this transfer happens, it's game over for the rest in England." With that, he may be echoing the sentiments of many others. That is not only an exaggeration, but also exceedingly presumptuous on his part.
We've seen big money men struggle to cut it at Stamford Bridge, and there will be a risk factor associated with Falcao too. With his tiny frame, adapting to English top flight might prove difficult for the Athletico man.
Is the diminutive wizard from Columbia set to make the Bridge his new stomping ground? El Nino and company may yet have something to say about that.
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