When the transfer window opens at the end of the season, the first priority for Chelsea is to sign a striker. Almost anyone will do at the moment, but there are two players who appear to be the priority targets for Jose Mourinho.
Radamel Falcao was supposedly on his way to Stamford Bridge last summer, per Goal.com, before the tax haven of Monaco managed to persuade him otherwise. The Colombian scored 32 goals for Atletico Madrid in 2012-13, allowing the cash-strapped La Liga club to command a fee in the region of £50 million, per BBC Sport.
Falcao continued his good form into the beginning of 2013-14, scoring nine goals in 17 appearances before a horrific-looking knee injury ruled him out for the remainder of the season. With his World Cup hopes on the line, Falcao is said to be recovering well, but there is no telling whether he will be fit to play in the tournament.
By contrast, the other striker on Chelsea’s wish list is faring much better.
Diego Costa played a supporting role to Falcao in the 2012-13 season and scored 12 goals. Since the Colombian’s departure, Costa has relished the responsibility of being the main man, scoring 34 goals in 38 appearances for Atletico in 2013-14. He is two years younger than the Colombian and has a release clause in his contract that could cap the fee at around £32 million, per The Express.
While both players have proven themselves to be prolific goalscorers, chasing Costa should be Chelsea’s priority. His style of play is more suited to the Blues’ attacking philosophy as he links well with the midfielders behind him and is not afraid to take on defenders.
Falcao's ability to shoot from distance could help the Blues to break down the tough defences that have caused them problems this year, but the warning signs around him are too big to ignore.
Chelsea spent £50 million on a 27-year-old striker who was recovering from a serious knee injury in January 2011, and it was an unsuccessful move to say the least. To perform a similarly insane feat just three years after getting burned as badly as the Blues did would be to throw good money after bad, something that is not feasible in the Financial Fair Play era.
There is also the availability aspect to consider. Monaco are unlikely to part with their prized acquisition after only one year, especially when you consider that he has played fewer than 20 games for them. Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid seem to have accepted Costa’s departure as something of an inevitability, and they could be persuaded to take Fernando Torres back to the club he captained at the age of 19.
Whichever way you look at it, Costa represents the best solution to Chelsea’s striker struggles. He is younger, fitter, and decidedly cheaper than the other players who have been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge. Relations between Atletico and Chelsea are still strong despite the recent UEFA furore over Thibaut Courtois, and any opportunity to alleviate Torres’ misery should be grabbed with both hands.
In fact, it makes so much sense that you should expect to see the Blues sign Edinson Cavani from PSG instead, per The Express.
Statistics via WhoScored.