Have Torres and Ba done enough to lead Chelsea’s brave new world?
The transfer fees of Chelsea’s two leading strikers have had endless column inches written about them. The £50m paid for Fernando Torres has long been seen as one of the great swindles in living memory, while the reported £7m for Demba Ba is a deal relatively in-keeping with the austerity of the real world. Will either be at Stamford Bridge a year from now?
Fernando Torres returning to form was seen as one of the key objectives in the short Rafa Benitez reign. The general view was that of a player completely shot of confidence and drive, and the Spanish boss was earmarked as the man to recover the striker’s lost Liverpool form.
When people are speculating about signing new strikers, the ideal is generally for a 20-goal-a season player; one that can anchor their attack and give them a steady supply of goals. Torres notched 22 last season, but the true story comes in the spread of his 64 appearances. 36 of these came in the league, where only eight goals were plundered. As they say, the league is the bread and butter, where managers are judged and careers are made. Torres undoubtedly benefited from some lacklustre continental defences, particularly in the Europa League, which Chelsea went on to win.
It has been strongly rumoured that the allegedly-incoming Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is trying to use Torres as a makeweight to bring Edinson Cavani to Stamford Bridge. Cavani’s release clause stands at 60 million euros and the rumour is that Chelsea see Torres as worth half that. Many would scoff at that notion, but watch this space.
As for Demba Ba, his place is more secure, having only just arrived in January. His free-scoring exploits at Newcastle have not quite been repeated, with two goals in 14 league appearances not exactly setting the pulse alight. However, four goals in the cup competitions, and some hard-working performances, should see him retain his shirt for next season at least. The return of Romelu Lukaku to the Chelsea squad should at least give some competition for places, as Jose Mourinho may see him as a natural heir to Didier Drogba.
However, given the lack of goals from Chelsea’s frontline last season, and the advancing years of their goal-getter from midfield – Frank Lampard, at least one striker is surely a must for the Blues to progress next season.