Which Striker Is the Best Fit for Chelsea: Torres, Eto'o, Rooney or Lukaku?

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Which Striker Is the Best Fit for Chelsea: Torres, Eto'o, Rooney or Lukaku?
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Their search has rumbled on all summer and this weekend Jose Mourinho reaffirmed Chelsea's commitment to adding a new striker to the Stamford Bridge dressing room.

"We will try until the last day of the transfer window to add a new player to the squad. A striker," the Portuguese said to BBC Sport after Chelsea's 2-0 win over Hull City Tigers.

Who that man will be remains anyone's guess. Chelsea have already seen two bids knocked back for Manchester United's Wayne Rooney thus far this summer (via The Guardian) and with their rivals seeming unwilling to sell, Samuel Eto'o has been linked with the Blues in a number of newspapers, including the Daily Mail.

Early indications this term suggest Demba Ba is surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, leaving Chelsea with just Fernando Torres and Romelu Lukaku to choose from.

The need to strengthen is paramount, but of the strikers currently at the club and those Chelsea are rumored to be chasing, who is the best fit for Mourinho's system? Bleacher Report assesses the talents of each to find out.

 

Fernando Torres

Once Europe's most-feared striker, some woeful form in his early Chelsea career has seen Torres' stock drop dramatically.

The Blues shelled out £50 million for his services in January 2011 and they would be hard pressed to get a large proportion of that transfer fee back if they opted to move him on. Then again, they don't need to.

Clive Mason/Getty Images

For all the criticism Torres has had thrown at him, he remains a fine talent and last season suggested he is returning to the type of form that will help Chelsea win titles.

The Spaniard bagged 23 goals in all competitions for his club, not to mention seven assists. And in the summer also took home the Golden Boot from the Confederations Cup.

Torres was not on the scoresheet in Chelsea's opening weekend victory over Hull City Tigers on Sunday, yet he played a considerable part. He not only won the penalty Frank Lampard missed after just five minutes, but also the free-kick which his teammate fired home from 35 yards.

With a disrupted preseason due to his international commitments, he looked sharp and his performance outlined his importance to Chelsea and the way this team plays.

 

Romelu Lukaku

A wonderful season on loan at West Bromwich Albion last term—in which he scored 17 goals in the Premier League—has seen Chelsea fans counting down the days this summer until they can see Lukaku in actionnow that he has returned to Stamford Bridge.

Indeed, 2012-13 was a breakthrough year for the young Belgian and he demonstrated all that he has to offer, bullying defences in a way akin to his idol and former Chelsea teammate Didier Drogba.

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

He can play a number of roles, too. He showed at the Baggies he is an able target man, but don't let appearances deceive you. Lukaku remains skillful and quick with the ball at his feet, allowing him to glide past the opposition and strike a devastating blow.

At 20, he is only going to get better and for the rest of the Premier League, that is surely a concern.

 

Samuel Eto'o

With spells at Barcelona and Inter Milan, the whole of Europe knows how devastating Samuel Eto'o can be.

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The Cameroon striker has won the Champions League three times, but since moving to Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala in 2011 he has fallen off the radar somewhat.

His form hasn't been at the same levels we have come to expect either, scoring just 24 goals in the past two seasons. Compare that to the 34 he fired home for Barcelona in his last season at the Nou Camp in 2008-09 and the 29 in his final year at Inter in 2011, and it's clear he is not the same player.

At 32, injuries have taken their toll and that should be a concern for Mourinho if he is to bring him to Stamford Bridge where he'll have to adapt to a game played at a much higher intensity to what he has grown used to in Russia.

 

Wayne Rooney

All the talk of a move to Chelsea left many wondering if Rooney would be sulking and out of form heading into the new campaign. Appearing from the bench for Manchester United in their opening day victory over Swansea City, however, the No. 10 bagged two assists for his team as they cruised to a 4-1 victory.

His performance at the Liberty Stadium certainly put to bed any impressions as to his state of mind and that will have not only pleased David Moyes, but Mourinho also.

Michael Steele/Getty Images

When he's on form, Rooney is one of the Premier League's finest players. He scores goals from all over the pitch and his 13 assists for United last term highlight that Saturday's contribution was no fluke, either.

He wants to play as an out-and-out frontman, yet in many ways, Rooney's vast ability has almost been his downfall at Old Trafford. He's versatile and that meant Sir Alex Ferguson often deployed him in a withdrawn role, feeding the striker and battling in midfield.

It's almost a waste of his talents though as he is such a threat playing further forward.

 

Verdict

Chelsea's apparent interest in Samuel Eto'o appears a knee-jerk reaction to United's insistence Rooney is not leaving Old Trafford this summer.

Chelsea know they must strengthen their ranks before the transfer window closes and with so many big names already moving to new clubs this summer, their options are limited.

The Cameroon international wouldn't be an option to start, though. With him in the squad, his form and fitness over the past few seasons must surely dictate he is nothing more than an able substitute—something Chelsea already have in Demba Ba.

Lukaku's youth plays against him. The Belgian is a fine talent and will grow to become vital to Chelsea in the future, but he must bide his time for now as scoring goals for West Brom is a different thing altogether when it comes to leading the line at Stamford Bridge.

The real battle for Chelsea is between Torres and Rooney. They each bring something different to their respective clubs, but if Mourinho is successful in his pursuit of the latter, it's the Manchester United ace who is going to prove more clinical in bringing the Premier League title back to Stamford Bridge.

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While Torres has the endeavor, his confidence can seem fragile, whereas Rooney is relentless. And besides, slotting into Chelsea's system would perhaps benefit the Englishman more than it has Chelsea's Spaniard.

Torres has been forced to adapt his game so much at Chelsea, he is almost unrecognizable to the player they signed from Liverpool. He thrived on the service of Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso at Anfield, playing off the last man and exposing frailties in behind the defence.

Chelsea aren't as direct, which means he often has to roam for possession, something Rooney is a master at. He will involve himself and link well with those around him—it's what he has been doing throughout almost the past decade at Old Trafford.

Torres is a fine striker, but if Chelsea can snap up Rooney, it should be an easy choice for Mourinho when it comes to deciding who is his No. 1 front man.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes

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