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Why Harry Kane Is the Tottenham Player Chelsea Would Love to Sign

Garry Hayes@@garryhayesFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2016

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 14: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates victory after the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad Stadium on February 14, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

From wherever Antonio Conte is watching Chelsea take on Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night, the inbound Blues boss will be forgiven if he starts daydreaming about a Diego Costa-Harry Kane strike partnership for next season.

It would probably mean blowing his entire summer transfer budget and more to make it happen, but the pair leading the line at Stamford Bridge would be quite the spectacle.

The speculation continues over what system Conte will deploy in west London. Will it be the 3-5-2 he relied on at Juventus? Perhaps a 4-4-2 to make the most of some of the players Chelsea already have? Maybe a midfield diamond?

Whichever he chooses, the smart money suggests Chelsea fans can look forward to seeing two strikers. Regardless of what's behind the frontmen, it's what the Italian has opted for throughout his managerial career.

That means Costa needs a partner, and Chelsea don't have one primed and ready for that role at the club. Bertrand Traore needs more exposure to senior football before he can command a starting place, while Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao are looking likely to move on this summer—the latter going back to Monaco at the end of his loan.

Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao could be off this summer
Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao could be off this summerMatthew Lewis/Getty Images
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The 18-year-old Dominic Solanke remains a raw talent despite his Vitesse Arnhem loan, while Chelsea's other promising youth-team striker, Tammy Abraham, has yet to taste senior football of any kind.

It's clear Conte needs another striker of significant quality to be starting every week, and Kane fits the bill. Not only has the Englishman scored over 50 goals in the past two seasons, but he has the attributes to complement what Costa already brings to this Chelsea side.

Whereas Costa flourishes on the shoulder of the last defender, Kane has a tendency to roam. He's a hybrid in that sense, bringing others into the game while also performing his duties as a striker, notably by scoring goals.

It's the yin-yang principle. The best strike partnerships always offer balance, as Chelsea fans themselves can attest.

Costa and Kane are anything but little and large, although Chelsea fans have fond memories of how Mark Hughes and Gianfranco Zola partnered together in the late 1990s.

Vialli, Hughes and Zola were a big hit for Chelsea in the 1990s.
Vialli, Hughes and Zola were a big hit for Chelsea in the 1990s.MAX NASH/Associated Press/Associated Press

Hughes' more traditional, Anglo-Saxon style, holding the ball up and offering a physical presence, complemented the more cute approach from Zola. The Italian was the schemer, playing off Hughes and benefiting from the hard work his team-mate put in to busy defenders that allowed Zola time and space to be effective.

That partnership won Chelsea the FA Cup in 1997 and also took them to League Cup and UEFA Cup Winners' Cup success the following year. Had it not been for the team's shortcomings elsewhere, there's every reason to suggest Chelsea could have put up a better challenge to the titans of that era, Manchester United and Arsenal.

Chelsea were in the infancy of becoming a major player in the Premier League, which Zola and Hughes influenced significantly. Chelsea also had Gianluca Vialli, who despite being at the end of his career was also a major goal threat.

When Hughes left Chelsea, Zola soon found a new partner in Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, and the connection the pair made was just as effective as what we had seen before. Eidur Gudjohnsen was also added, playing the Vialli role to give Chelsea a lethal front three that was often rotated by Claudio Ranieri.

Of course, there are vast differences between the personnel in those partnerships and what a Costa-Kane double act would bring. It doesn't mean the principle isn't the same, however.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 9: Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Chelsea FC and Paris Saint-Germain at Stamford Bridge stadium on March 9, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Jean C
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

We can highlight Chelsea's inability to keep clean sheets this term as being a big factor in why they are where they are. Normally the cornerstone of their success, the defence has let them down too often this season.

A lack of goals has been just as crucial. The Blues have found the back of the net 53 times this year; in 2014/15, Jose Mourinho's men had hit 68 goals in 34 games.

That's two goals every game on average, which outlines why Chelsea were so dominant in winning the title. They were top from Week 1 to 38, and nobody came close to catching them despite Manchester City's best efforts.

That same threat has disappeared this season. It's partly because of how teams have cut the service to Costa, but with others in this team struggling to repeat their title-winning form, Chelsea have faltered.

Eden Hazard has scored just two league goals all season—both of which only came away to Bournemouth at the back end of April.

There isn't enough of a goal threat, and it's Conte's task to dramatically change that. Chelsea aren't going to transform their fortunes by relying on Costa and Hazard to be the goalscorers; they need more.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29:  Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur battles with Kenedy of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane on November 29, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Bott
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Put Kane's goals from this season into Chelsea's tally, and the picture would be far more rosier than it is. What whets the appetite further is there's a clear place for him to enter the fray and be of use. It isn't about throwing marquee names together and hoping it works.

When we look at the two squads that will face each other on Monday, Chelsea already have their own Dele Alli in Ruben Loftus-Cheek—despite the latter still attempting to establish himself. Chelsea's Christian Eriksen is last season's Player of the Year Eden Hazard.

Despite an underwhelming campaign, the Blues have plenty of talent in this squad that should be rivaling the Premier League's best. They need another world-class striker, though.

If Conte could cherry-pick any of Mauricio Pochettino's men, he wouldn't need to look much further than Kane.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes.