Scouting Report: Vincent Aboubakar Chelsea's Diego Costa Transfer Alternative?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentApril 15, 2014

ELCHE, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 30:  Diego Costa of Atletico de Madrid celebrates after scoring during the La Liga match between Elche FC and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero on November 30, 2013 in Elche, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

What happens if Chelsea do not sign Atletico Madrid centre-forward Diego Costa in the summer transfer window? One suggested alternative is Lorient No. 9 Vincent Aboubakar, so here is a scouting report on the 22-year-old Cameroonian international.

Why Chelsea Must Target Aboubakar

Atleti manager Diego Simeone believes Costa signing with Chelsea is a realistic scenario. 

"We understand that Chelsea have huge financial power," Simeone said, per Spanish radio station Onda Cero (h/t Richard Martin at the Telegraph). "If he [Costa] wants to live off football for the rest of his life, I will have no problem in him going [to Chelsea]."

The imperative word is "if," so if Chelsea do not succeed in signing Costa, Aboubakar should be a backup option.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 06:  Romelu Lukaku of Everton celebrates scoring the second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park on April 6, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Well, what about Romelu Lukaku returning to Chelsea after a loan stint at Everton?

It is a convoluted situation. 

Everton manager Roberto Martinez treats Lukaku with kid gloves and talked about his "happiness" at Goodison Park, per Sky Sports, as if to imply going back to Chelsea would lead to unhappiness. 

Perhaps Martinez was making a veiled reference to Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho calling Lukaku out for lacking sincerity, per Tom Cary at the Telegraph.

Selling Lukaku will only happen if he develops irreconcilable feelings towards Chelsea management.

His agent Christophe Henrotay disclosing that Tottenham Hotspur are open to signing Lukaku, per David Hytner at the Guardian, is a red flag.

Why? It is an indication that Lukaku's relationship with Chelsea management is at a crossroads. 

Lukaku is not the only Chelsea centre-forward whose future is undetermined. 

The multitude of reasons are why Chelsea should consider signing Aboubakar from Lorient.

Why You Shouldn't Scoff At Aboubakar

The attacking output of Aboubakar (Lorient), Ciro Immobile (Torino), Costa (Atleti) and Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool) have all exponentially increased compared to last season, so these are examples that footballers can make the next step up within 12-18 months. 

League OnlyGamesGoalsAssists
Aboubakar 2012-13 (Valenciennes)2821
Aboubakar 2013-1432146
Immobile 2012-13 (Genoa)3353
Immobile 2013-1429192
Costa 2012-13 31107
Costa 2013-1431263
Sturridge 2012-13 (Chelsea/Liverpool)21113
Sturridge 2013-1426207

Costa, a 25-year-old Brazilian-turned-Spaniard, entered this season as a sideshow. His productivity had yet to eclipse his antics on the field. 

When you watched him on loan at Rayo Vallecano with Michu during the 2011-12 season, you knew once Costa developed into a more consistent goalscorer in a post-Radamel Falcao Atleti team, you would "find it hard to deny his [Costa's] standing as one of the best forwards in the game," per Bleacher Report

Aboubakar has potential for greatness, but he is not there yet, just like Costa wasn't last season at Atleti, or the season before that at Rayo. 

Aboubakar is a 6'0", 181-pound centre-forward blessed with tremendous athleticism.

Source: Ligue1.com.

Source: Ligue1.com.

Being physically dominant forces opposing teams to double-team Aboubakar, which allows him to make incisive passes to wide-open teammates. 

This explains why he has registered six assists in league play, which is more than every single Chelsea player except Eden Hazard (seven). 

Aboubakar's technical ability complements his physicality. 

The way he changed direction to leave Nice defensive midfielder Nampalys Mendy on his backside, who has a low centre of gravity, speaks to how tight Aboubakar's ball control is. 

Source: Ligue1.com.

Nice left-back Timothee Kolodziejczak could not cope with Aboubakar's dribbling. 

Source: Ligue1.com.

Another example of Aboubakar's technical brilliance was when he perfectly cushioned a pass which teed him up to lash the ball past Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

Source: Ligue1.com.

Aboubakar can finish in a variety of ways: right foot, left foot, header and even off the knee. 

Source: Ligue1.com.

Aboubakar has extraordinary vision as exemplified in two cases: when he scored from an acute angle against Evian Thonon Gaillard and when he clipped the ball over Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and headed home. 

Source: Ligue1.com.

Source: Ligue1.com.

Bottom Line

Aboubakar is a centre-forward with world-class upside. 

Not only does Aboubakar have the physical and technical tangibles to succeed in the Premier League, he has great intangibles by continuing to play at a high level until the final whistle.

Source: Ligue1.com.

If Chelsea do not sign Costa, Aboubakar should be targeted in the summer transfer window. 



Statistics via WhoScored.com.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.