Chelsea Focus: Could Edinson Cavani Be the Marquee Striker the Blues Need?

Hemant Dua@hemant_duaCorrespondent IIJune 4, 2013

NAPLES, ITALY - MAY 05:  Edinson Cavani of Napoli celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and FC Internazionale Milano at Stadio San Paolo on May 5, 2013 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

With the managerial situation at Chelsea having finally been sorted, it's time for the club to turn its attention to the upcoming summer transfer window and plan for the months ahead.

The return of the self-proclaimed Special One, aka Jose Mourinho, was splendid news for supporters of the West Londoners, given his immense popularity with the Chelsea faithful.

However, there's no hiding the fact that there are some serious deficiencies in the squad at the moment, and none more blatant than the lack of quality options at centre-forward—something that Mourinho should look to sort out as soon as possible.

With long-term Chelsea target Radamel Falcao opting for a move to French Ligue 2 champions and big-spenders AS Monaco, and, as The Independent reports, Robert Lewandowski all but set to head to Bavaria to sign for Bayern Munich, it appears that the only elite forward available in the market is Napoli man Edinson Cavani.

There are some key questions worth contemplation right now. Does the prolific Uruguayan striker classify as a viable option for Chelsea? Is he good enough? What are the other options available to the club in the transfer market?


Is he good enough?

Some of the things that make Cavani stand out for me are his aerial prowess, positional play and, most crucially, his composure in front of goal. 

Those who watch the man week in week out at Napoli would know that while he may not have the fiercest shot in the game, he's a wily fox in the box. He goes for precision over power, and that's what makes him such an accomplished goal-poacher.

His dead-ball skills are certainly above average, and he scored from free-kicks twice in the season that went by. He is a good penalty-taker with a fairly impressive conversion rate.

A considerable physical presence up front, and a player with a phenomenal work rate (Napoli fans would vouch for that), it is quite clear what makes the Uruguayan such an attractive proposition—not just to Chelsea, but Real Madrid and Manchester City, too.

His numbers make for good reading. With 78 Serie A goals in three seasons at the Naples-based club, he is anything but goal-shy, and his stats are enviable. At 26 years of age, his best is yet to come. Of course he's good enough.


What are the other options?

Fellow B/R Featured Columnist Rowanne Westhenry reckons Mario Gomez would be quite a catch for the Blues, but does he really have the all-round ability to fit in? There are other compelling questions to be addressed as well. Let's not forget that Gomez, 27, has had his share of injury troubles lately.

According to The Telegraph, Man City's Edin Dzeko is another player rumored to be on Chelsea's radar, but in all honesty, he wouldn't be a considerable improvement on the strike-force the Blues presently have. At best, I can see him as a handy impact substitute.

Andre Schurrle, who, per the Daily Mail, is close to signing with Chelsea, can play as a centre-forward. However, it is all too clear that his preferred position is out wide. I for one am not up for placing square pegs in round holes.

All in all, the options are limited. Nonetheless, Jose Mourinho doesn't strike me as someone who will tolerate inconsistency for very long. With that in mind, both Fernando Torres and Demba Ba should be worried about their places in the first team.

It's safe to presume that the recruitment of a high-profile striker will result in at least one of them being offloaded, especially should Chelsea choose to give the deserving Romelu Lukaku a taste of first-team action as opposed to loaning him out again.

Speaking of recruitment, Edinson Cavani evidently is the best striker there for the taking right now.


Is Cavani worth it?

Cavani has a buyout clause of £54.5 million inserted in his contract, and that will be a major hurdle for any club looking to buy him.

The Daily Mail reports that Torres is likely to be used as makeweight in any deal for Cavani, especially now that Rafael Benitez has been handed the reins at Napoli. The inclusion of Torres as bait would make such a transaction more feasible, no doubt.

Still, considering the heavy investment it would take to rope in the Napoli star, would he make a good signing? Is he truly what Jose Mourinho needs as the Portuguese tactician embarks on a second journey with Chelsea? Could he be the marquee striker Chelsea require to launch a fresh assault on top honors in England and Europe?


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