After a brief hiatus where Europe’s best tested the waters of the newly formed UEFA Nations League, the Premier League was back in full swing on Saturday.
Chelsea coach Antonio Conte must be irritated with the lack of signings the club has been able to make this transfer window.
Let’s not forget the Chelsea manager sent a text message to Diego Costa informing him that he would not be needed anymore.
With Manchester United quickly snapping up Romelu Lukaku, that message to Costa may backfire if Roman Abramovich doesn’t meet Conte’s demands.
Michy Batshuayi isn’t going to be enough to steer Chelsea towards a successful season, so which strikers would the Italian tactician be keeping a close eye on?
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund)
The Gabon international would be an exciting addition for the Blues. His lightning pace and lethal finishing are strengths that helped him beat Robert Lewandowski to the Bundesliga golden boot with 31 goals.
Dortmund’s brand of football suits Aubameyang’s game. Pressing high up the pitch and catching teams out on the counter attack have made Dortmund the most exciting team to watch in Europe along with Napoli.
AC Milan are currently the favourites to sign him, but the $90 million asking price is a figure that Chelsea are able to afford. However, he is 28 years old and paying that kind of money is a gamble, as his best days might be behind him.
It is why the likes of PSG and Real Madrid have turned away from him, as they want to seek a younger striker who can help them for many years to come.
The main weakness of Aubameyang is his hold up play. He isn’t that type of centre forward who can play with his back turned to goal. And Conte isn’t a coach who likes to counter attack that often.
For me, there are better options that are younger and can fit into Conte’s system.
Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid)
Morata is one of the most underrated strikers in world football. After a successful loan spell at Juventus, he was brought back to the Bernabeu having being promised more playing time.
That unfortunately didn’t happen. He was a benchwarmer for much of the 2016-17 season even though he was performing well when given the chance.
He had the best goals-to-game ratio in Europe, but it was hard for him to fit into the team when Zinedine Zidane has a fit Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale at his disposal.
The 24-year-old has time on his side to improve his game, but he already possesses many qualities that can help Chelsea for the upcoming season.
He is able to hold the ball up and play with his back to goal, which is important for Conte, as well as being able to work hard defensively.
Whenever Morata gets half a chance, he will most likely finish it. Not only that, he is a smart player with a football brain who knows how to read the game. He makes clever runs inside the box, which creates space for his teammates.
Morata’s price tag is at around $70 million, but he hasn’t been able to produce consistently for a whole season, which is why if Conte decides to take him, it would be considered a gamble.
Nonetheless, Morata is a talented forward who would offer a lot to Chelsea. He has proven he can score decisive goals in the Champions League (two against Real Madrid in the semi-finals and one against Barcelona in the final) which shows he is always up for the big games.
It would be a big coup for Chelsea if they do win the race for his signature, but there are still a couple of weaknesses in his game that Conte would need to address quickly.
Andrea Belotti (Torino)
The 23-year-old Italian has taken Serie A by storm this season. In 2016-17, Belotti was able to score 26 goals and provided seven assists. His ability to finish comes naturally to him, as he is a goal poacher who knows where to be at the right time in the box.
In Europe’s top five leagues, no other player has scored more headed goals than Belotti (10) making him an aerial threat. Five goals have come from his left foot, and nine from his right, making him so unpredictable for defenders.
Conte is the kind of manager who appreciates hard work off the ball, which is exactly what Belotti offers. He has an incredible work rate which is eventually rewarded with goals.
Chelsea fans will respect his determination as he’ll always wear his heart on his sleeve and leave nothing behind.
His strength is also unbelievable. Belotti is able to hold up the ball and bring others into play (seven assists prove that) but he also has pace which adds another dimension to his game.
In saying all of this, Belotti obviously won’t come cheap. He has a $115 million release clause, which is only active for clubs outside of Italy. There have been reports today that Chelsea are serious about Belotti and will put forward a huge offer.
Belotti has been able to prove that he can be consistent for a whole season and for me, he is the best centre forward option out there. Chelsea must do everything they can to lure him to Stamford Bridge.