5 Strikers Who Could Solve Chelsea's Attacking Issues
With a combined Premier League campaign of just 18 goals, Chelsea's strikers were widely accepted to be their main failing this season.
Samuel Eto'o (nine Premier League goals), Demba Ba (five) and Fernando Torres (four) all look set to exit Stamford Bridge in the summer.
So who are the men Jose Mourinho should be looking to sign before the next campaign gets underway?
With 35 goals in all competitions this season, Diego Costa seems to have exactly what Chelsea need—the magic touch.
Half the world seems to think his move to Stamford Bridge has been a done deal for some time, as John Cross reported in The Mirror last month, with the only disagreements being over the price tag.
But what would Costa, largely silent over two legs of the Blues' Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, bring to the club?
Having succeeded at Atletico, the 25-year-old is used to playing in a side that has similarities to Chelsea's counter-attacking game.
He is a big bully, who loves a bit of gamesmanship and taunts defences. But he also has the technique that you would expect to come with the Brazilian half of his passport.
Possibly most important of all to his potential success at Chelsea, and in the Premier League in general, is his work ethic—which is probably what has singled him out as Jose Mourinho's No. 1 target.
With Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o all expected to leave Chelsea this summer, the Blues need to acquire a series of differing attacking options.
Chelsea's problem is that at a certain point a decision seems to have been taken to rest all the club's hopes on a system based on Fernando Torres at his best—something they have never had at their disposal.
Chelsea need strikers with skill, pace, guile and technique who can offer different things against different opposition.
And they need strikers happy to be team players—ones who will fight for a starting place but not complain too much if they don't manage it (I'm talking about you, Daniel Sturridge).
Javier Hernandez seems an ideal back-up option for Chelsea.
The 25-year-old is a nippy little number, who gets into spaces not seen by defences and poaches goals.
Colombian Jackson Martinez is the favoured target of many a football hipster.
Selecting him as a potential buy for Chelsea says loud and clear: “I know more about football than you, because I spend my Monday nights watching Porto vs. Rio Ave.”
But, annoyingly, the hipsters may have a point.
He is mightily quick, known for the little dance that sees his feet skip through defences, and he has this season found the net 22 times in 40 games.
It would certainly be a gamble for Chelsea—he is far from old at 27, but he is no longer in his youth. And the Portuguese Liga isn't the greatest indication of top class quality.
But Chelsea, of course, have a manager who knows a thing or two about Portuguese football.
And Martinez' people are clearly keen to see him in the Premier League next season, as this Metro story linking him with Tottenham shows.
If you can't unlock a door with a key, just kick it down. And who better to do that kicking than Bayern Munich forward Mario Mandzukic?
The Croatian 27-year-old has a reputation as a hard man, and he seems to be powered by batteries that never run out.
With Jose Mourinho clearly frustrated by, but accommodating of, Eden Hazard's inability to track back, as reported by Get West London, Mandzukic offers a forward option that involves plenty of defensive ability and commitment.
Most persuasively, with Robert Lewandowski looking set to steal his starting berth next season, Mandzukic is likely to be on the market, as reported by the Express.
Chelsea to pitch-in for a 36-year-old striker? Surely not.
But this could be a real option for the Blues this summer—though not in the way most people seem to think.
Didier Drogba's legendary status at Stamford Bridge is unimpeachable. By walking away immediately after his, and the club's, very greatest achievement, he ensured the west London crowds would always be begging for more.
After spending time in China and Turkey, his game isn't perhaps the sharpest it has ever been—as he demonstrated when Chelsea met his Galatasaray side in the Champions League.
But it is off the pitch that he probably has the most to offer Jose Mourinho.
Drogba has bags of experience, plus an utterly compelling personality. He has been there, done it, and got the medals to prove it. Nobody, in the recent history of football, has scored more goals precisely when it mattered.
Could this striker offer Chelsea as much from the technical area as he did on the pitch?
We may be about to find out.