Chelsea FC: 8 Players Who Could Replace Didier Drogba in January

Greg Probert@@GregProbertFWContributor IIDecember 28, 2011

Chelsea FC: 8 Players Who Could Replace Didier Drogba in January

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    The January transfer window is just around the corner, and managers of clubs all over the world are preparing what moves they are going to make.

    Chelsea fans have come to expect big money splashed on players in every transfer window.

    With the revolving door that seems to usher players in and out of the club every season, there are few players who stay part of the furniture at Stamford Bridge and remain an integral part of the side.

    One player who has achieved this is Didier Drogba.

    The Ivorian striker, now in his seventh year at Chelsea, has been one of the most important players for the club in recent years.

    A bully of a central forward, he has terrorised defenders and scored an untold amount of important goals for club and country.

    But now aged 33...and not getting any younger, some questions marks have been raised about Drogba's future in a blue shirt.

    Still a living legend at Chelsea, he is worshipped at the Bridge, but his form and consistency have come under scrutiny in recent performances. With his contract running out at the end of the season, whispers of big-money offers have circled the tabloids.

    A fact many Chelsea fans won't want to hear, but a fact all the same, is that Drogba leaving is certainly a possibility.

    With his presence and scoring ability going with him, Chelsea are going to need a replacement as deadly, or even deadlier than Chelsea's No. 11.

    Here is a list of players who have the potential to be big hits at Chelsea and take some of the goal scoring responsibility from Daniel Sturridge.

Lucas Barrios

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    Since joining Borussia Dortmund in 2009, Lucas Barrios has scored almost one goal every two games.

    Known as "The Panther," he is a clinical finisher, known to pounce on any goal scoring opportunity he comes across.

    Already an alleged target for Chelsea, he has been linked to a move to West London in a sale in the region of £18 million.

    If Dortmund were not willing to sell, Barrios' decision to make his desire to leave the German side public would not have made them any more comfortable.

    At the age of 27, he should be coming into his prime, and if he can bring his poaching skills to the English game, he could turn out to be a bargain.

Seydou Doumbia

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    Hailing from the same nation as Drogba, Seydou Doumbia has been one of the most prolific strikers in Europe this season.

    Playing his football in Russia for CSKA Moscow, a staggering 33 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions this season is very impressive to say the least.

    It has been argued that not playing in one of the world's best leagues may have an effect on how he would perform in the Premier League. But a scoring record like that shows that Doumbia knows exactly where the goal is.

    Reportedly being targeted by Tottenham Hotspur, among others, clubs are willing to gamble that he can show his current form at top level, week in and week out.

    At 23 years of age, the best could yet be to come and at a reported £20 million, he could prove to be a very worthwhile investment.

Carlos Tevez

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    According to Roberto Mancini, Tevez's career is "finished at City."

    This means one thing: a huge transfer saga surrounding the 27-year-old. Tipped to join AC Milan, I'm sure a lot of Chelsea fans wouldn't mind seeing Tevez at Stamford Bridge.

    He has some off-the-pitch attitude problemssome of which have been widely publicisedbut there is no doubting that on form, he is a game-changer.

    His never-say-die mentality on the field has made him an instant favourite with each set of fans of the clubs he has played for previously. To add to this, he has that all-important Premier League experience.

    If Chelsea can fight off Milan for his signature and are willing to spend big, Tevez could be the spark the Blues are looking for in attack.

Hulk

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    The name says it all: Hulk is one of the strongest forwards in Europe at the moment.

    With this strength, he brings pace, acceleration and a shot that could snap most crossbars in half.

    Drogba-esque in the way he barges defenders out of his way, he has managed to score 12 goals with nine assists in 21 appearances already this season.

    Chelsea showed an interest in the Brazilian when Andre Villas-Boas was planning on bringing half of the Porto squad with him to Stamford Bridge.

    But with his buy-out clause of around £80 million pounds, Chelsea, like most clubs, were not willing to splash this enormous amount of cash.

    If Porto would be willing to negotiate at a more reasonable price, Hulk looks tailor-made for the Premier League and could be a huge hit for the Blues.

Robin Van Persie

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    This season, the Premier League has been all about one man: Robin van Persie.

    The Dutch striker has single-handedly fired Arsenal to a point where they are challenging for a top-four position.

    A sight goalkeepers don't like to see, he is scoring for fun at the moment and is in the form of his life.

    Chelsea, like any club, would snap him up in seconds if they thought there was a chance he was available.

    Not the likeliest of transfers to happen as Arsenal would be mad to sell him, especially to a rival club, but then again, we said that about Fabregas.

    He would understandably have an outrageous price tag attached to him, but along with Manchester City, Chelsea could be one of the clubs willing to pay that fee.

Alexandre Pato

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    Pace, flair and clinical in front of goal, Alexandre Pato is a class act.

    Joining AC Milan from Internacional in 2007, he has been playing at the highest level since he was a teenager.

    Still a young man at 22, he has a decade left of top-level football—a decade Chelsea would like to be a part of.

    The Blues have been courting the Brazilian since Carlo Ancelotti attempted to bring him along to Stamford Bridge when he left AC Milan to manage Chelsea.

    With a reported market value of £30 million, Chelsea could easily afford him, but whether Milan will be willing to sell is a different matter.

Gonzalo Higuain

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    Another reported target for Chelsea, Higuain has been on fire this season, scoring 12 times in 15 games in La Liga alone.

    With five previous impressive seasons at Real Madrid, the French-born Argentina international has established himself as one of the finest strikers in Europen football.

    Still only 24 years of age, he has many more goals in him and has shown confidence in front of goal way beyond his years.

    If Chelsea are going to be successful in capturing "El Pipita," they are going to have to fight off some stiff competition, with Juventus reportedly lining up a £24 million summer move.

    But if the Blues can move quickly in January and offer somewhere in the £30 million mark, Madrid may be tempted to sell.

Edinson Cavani

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    Standing at 6'2" tall, "El Matador" is an intimidating presence for defenders to deal with.

    With 13 goals in 17 appearances already this season, he has become one of the most sought-after strikers in Europe.

    Having played in Serie A since 2007, he already has plenty of experience of top-level football and now, Champions League football.

    Chelsea have already shown an interest in the 24-year-old Uruguayan, but with Napoli not willing to sell their best players on the cheap, he has been given a reported £50 million price tag.

    A lot of Chelsea fans will be thinking that price is slightly steep (and with Torres' goal return, they would have a point) but if they could get Cavani for a more reasonable price, he could fill the hole Drogba would leave very nicely.

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