Chelsea Transfer News: Why the Blues Shouldn't Chase Emmanuel Emenike

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Chelsea Transfer News: Why the Blues Shouldn't Chase Emmanuel Emenike
Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Chelsea are reportedly looking at making a deal for Fenerbahce's Emmanuel Emenike in the coming days, but the Blues would be better served not dealing for the Nigerian international.

Per Metro's Jamie Sanderson, Turkish newspaper Fanatik knows the Blues are readying a £16million bid for the striker who recently confirmed his desire to one day play in the English Premier League:

"I have always dreamed of playing in England. If I get the opportunity to play in England – I wouldn’t turn it down."

The powerful forward joined the Turkish champions from Russian side Spartak Moscow just last season, scoring 12 goals in 28 appearances in his first season in the Turkish top division, per WhoScored.com.

He has also started all three of Nigeria's 2014 World Cup group-stage matches so far, and has assisted two goals.

The 27-year-old is an athlete, using pace and brute strength to battle his way through defences and set up chances. He's an opportunistic finisher, and he's not confined to the opposing team's box—he's perfectly capable of swerving wide, pulling the centre-backs out of position.

Emenike is an incredible athlete, but he's not a particularly gifted football player. His technique is okay at best, and he has ridiculously heavy feet. Given his powerful build, you would expect him to be an expert at shielding the ball, but too often defenders can use his lack of balance and agility to knock him off it.

Felipe Dana/Associated Press

That's not to say he's a bad player—he just has very clear strengths and weaknesses. Give him the ball and let him run at a defence, and Emenike will shine. Ask him to play with his back towards the goal, and he will not.

Emenike is a limited player, whose physique and style of play promises much his actual production can't deliver. He didn't dominate the Turkish league, or the Iranian defence during Nigeria's opening match of the World Cup. He was solid against Bosnia-Herzegovina, delivering this great assist, via Bleacher Report UK:

He can be a relatively productive player in the right circumstances, but he'll never be a star performer. Emenike needs space to operate, and that's the one thing he probably wouldn't find with Chelsea.

The Blues are a top team in the Premier League, and as a top team, they face a lot of opponents who choose to defend their own goal rather than sending players forward. Chelsea's strikers hardly ever play in space—instead, they function as passing outlets for advancing wingers, holding onto the ball.

That's not what Emenike does best, and at 27 years of age, a manager simply can't expect a player to just change the way he's been playing the game his entire life. He also lacks the foot speed to play outside, and while he can dribble the ball, he's not proficient enough to make a living as a winger in the Premier League.

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

He could still be worth a flyer for the Blues, despite all of that. He does have his athleticism and physicality going for him, after all. But with such limited upside and the chances of this move not paying off being so high, £16 million is just too steep a price to pay for someone like Emenike.

As far as technique, pace and physicality go, Emenike isn't all that different from current Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku. Like Emenike, Lukaku struggles when teams take away his space, and he's not as great at shielding the ball as you'd expect given his size.

The difference is that Lukaku still has plenty of room for improvement, whereas Emenike has reached his ceiling. Bringing in the Nigerian would all but push the 21-year-old out of the door, and Emenike simply wouldn't be an upgrade over a young striker still years away from playing his best football.

Emenike promises pace, power and excitement, but he simply wouldn't be a good fit for the Blues. There's a reason Fenerbahce are selling the Nigerian after just a single season—at £16 million, it just makes no sense to push this deal through.

 

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