Chelsea?s season has spluttered to a halt without any silverware following their semi-final exit from the Champions League and some poor Premiership form. Their inability to overcome relegation-bound Norwich at Stamford Bridge last weekend once again left Jose Mourinho lamenting the absence of a quality striker.
This may seem strange from a club boasting three International forwards in Torres, Eto?o and Ba but the statistics prove the point. Manchester City and Liverpool are both likely to score over 100 goals in the Premier League this season while Chelsea go into their final match with 69 to their credit. When you consider that they are likely to miss out on the title by 6 or 7 points, it is clear that a twenty goal striker would have made the difference.
Chelsea?s three strikers have amassed less than 20 goals between them. Ironically, Chelsea parted company with Daniel Sturridge to Liverpool and loaned Romelu Lukaku to Everton pre-season. They have bagged 21 and 14 goals respectively. It remains to be seen what the future holds for Chelsea?s existing strike force but Mourinho?s ?off-the-record? comments about Eto?o and his lack of a top striker leave little doubt that it is his number one priority this summer.
The other puzzling element about Chelsea?s season was their willingness to offload Juan Mata, their best player for the previous two seasons. Mourinho?s faith in the trio of Willian, Oscar and Hazard meant no place for Mata in his plans. His record sale to Manchester United brought in Matic and Salah and it is almost certain that Chelsea will be in the market to buy and sell in the coming weeks.
Several of the old guard will be under scrutiny including Ashley Cole, John Terry and Frank Lampard. There is also widespread speculation that Torres and David Luiz may be leaving the Bridge. The Blues manager has come in for criticism for reverting to defensive tactics for the big matches, in particular the 0-0 draw against Atletico Madrid and the 2-0 victory at Liverpool. Star player Eden Hazard has questioned why Chelsea are set up as a counter-attacking side and they will be looking to achieve a better balance in midfield.
Chelsea have been linked to many of the world?s leading strikers in the past with Atletico?s Diego Costa the latest in line. The feeling among the supporters is that the Blues threw away the title this year with some poor performances against the weaker teams. It will be interesting whether Mourinho can find the solution without breaking the bank.