As the end of the season draws ever closer, Chelsea supporters must be awash with a sense of "what might have been."
Their lack of a natural goalscorer cost them once again in Week 37, as they were unable to find a way through against a Norwich City team that looks destined for relegation.
Just to compound matters further, the striker they have been linked with for long portions of the campaign scored a penalty at Stamford Bridge to help Atletico Madrid knock Jose Mourinho's men out of the Champions League semi-final.
The Portuguese boss has insisted that his first season back at the club should be viewed as one of transition, per Sky Sports, but deep down, he must be perilously frustrated after his side have come up agonisingly short in the race for both the Champions League and the Premier League crown.
Expect the dearth of striker quality to be rectified thoroughly this summer, though, as Mourinho looks set to go in search of a player who can give his Chelsea team a clinical edge.
Here’s the very latest on the Blues’ search for that coveted centre-forward.
No Deal Done For Diego Costa
The aforementioned player who has long been linked with Chelsea is, of course, Diego Costa, with recent reports suggesting that a deal had been done between the Londoners and Atletico Madrid, per Wayne Veysey of Goal.com.
However, Atletico president Enrique Cerezo has insisted that no agreement has been reached between the two clubs, per Nick Lustig of the Daily Star:
We do not want to destabilise the team and we can talk about this later.
I can say that there is something, not officially, from another club regarding any of our players. They are not heading to any other team.
If the question is "Is there an agreement for Costa," then we have not heard anything.
Given Mourinho's stylistic preference when it comes to centre-forwards, it's easy to see why Costa is a player who has caught his eye.
During the Portuguese's successful first stint at Chelsea and then Internazionale, he had two target men of the highest calibre in Didier Drogba and Diego Milito. Looking a little further down the line, Costa is a striker who can provide that presence for this Chelsea team.
The Spanish international has always been a robust forward who uses his strong somatotype to protect the ball superbly and bring others into play with intelligence. But a new-found assuredness in front of goal has suddenly seen him branded as one of Europe's most feared frontmen.
When recently pressed on the possibilty of signing the Atletico man, Mourinho insisted that signing a striker is "critical:"
According to Metro, Costa has a £32 million buyout clause in his current contract, and if Chelsea were to eventually activate it, then it'd definitely be money well spent.
Costa would provide a refreshed and somewhat unique attacking impetus, one that would surely see Mourinho's troops mount a stronger challenge next season on both domestic and European fronts.
Mourinho Craves Killer Instinct
In the wake of Chelsea's stalemate with strugglers Norwich City, Mourinho has insisted that he will do his utmost to bring a forward to the club with "killer instinct."
The Portuguese’s comments come after Chelsea failed to score against one of the Premier League's less illustrious sides once again, and it's awkwardly paramount that they are a team crying out for a clinical presence in the opposition penalty area.
Mourinho told Chelsea TV (h/t Matt McGeehan of the Mail Online) that whilst he feels they currently have "good" strikers, they are lacking a forward with the ability to conjure up inspired moments against packed defences:
We have good players, but we don't have the kind of striker able to, in a short space, to make an action, to score a goal, to open the gate. In these kind of matches you just need to open the gate.
When you open the gate, the gate is open and you go win much more. We weren't able to do that. We have to try to win as a team, to improve as a team, but also add the attacking player with that killer instinct and the number of goals that push teams to different levels.
It's something our club is going to try (to do), respecting obviously that we have good strikers.
To watch Chelsea against Norwich was almost painful at times. There was no direction in their attacking play, with Senegalese forward Demba Ba offering a less-than-adequate focal point to their attacks. So often forward forays would fizzle out around the edge of the penalty area, and decent passes into the box would be wasted.
Chelsea are set to have a wonderful array of goalkeeping options next season, a defence that is unshakeably cohesive and a plethora of midfield options. Getting that forward will make such a massive difference to this Chelsea XI and will surely allow the Chelsea faithful to harbour excitement about a much more profitable campaign.
A top-quality striker can be the catalyst for Mourinho's second spell in charge starting in earnest.
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