Two more goals for Michy this weekend, albeit against opposition that rarely looked to threaten, and suddenly he’s sparking quotes from Conte that he won’t have to leave in January.
There’s a couple of sides to this however.
Conte didn’t really confirm his confidence in Batshuayi – he said that he doesn’t need to leave and also said that he needs 3 strikers to be able to compete in the league.
That to me is simply saying that he’ll happily keep Batshuayi but he will be a 3rd choice forward – which I’m not sure will sit too well with the player himself.
But then it depends who comes in.
There’s been no end to the rumours (or embarrassment) as we’ve been linked with every big, strapping centre forward that the world has to offer. I genuinely didn’t expect to be writing the names of Ashely Barnes and Peter Crouch as serious potentials.
Surely if either of those came in through the door then they’d have some work to do to push Michy out of 2nd spot.
And therein lies another problem. The second half of any season is crammed not only with a lot of games, but a lot of important games.
There isn’t much wiggle room to play a Barnes against Port Vale in the League Cup 3rd round to help him acclimatise. No, it’s more like throwing him in at the Nou Camp and seeing if he sinks or swims. I think I already know the answer to that.
Still unbeaten in La Liga play and boasting a jaw-dropping +48 goal differential, Barcelona (5/4) are favored as per MyTopSportsbooks.com in the first leg of their UCL Round of 16 matchup with Chelsea (5/2) on Feb. 20, despite the game taking place at Stamford Bridge. Leo Messi and Luis Suarez are coping wonderfully with the loss of Neymar this season, with 19 and 15 goals apiece in domestic action.
Meanwhile, we sit third in the Premier League and have struggled with a mediocre Arsenal side lately. (Potentially signing Burnley’s main man isn’t going to move the needle significantly).
Talked moved onto what we would consider more realistic targets when Dzeko got involved, but the latest news is that talks have stalled and a deal seems to be off the cards for now.
This all leads us nicely up to deadline day. Wednesday 31st January 2018.
I’m not a fan of us doing business on this day in any season but it looks more and more as though if Conte is to get his wish of a new striker then this crazy day will be when he does it.
The sense of panic as the deadline approaches I’m certain permeates the inner walls of Cobham.
And this is why I fear we’ll bring in an Ashley Barnes for £15 million at 23:45 on Wednesday. The rush to make sure the fax machine works seemingly the more important thing to think about than considering if we’ll buy a striker that will give us anything extra, or at least different.
For now I hope work is going on behind the scenes on other targets. Dzeko would work for me, and I think we should do all we can to resurrect that deal.
But I fear the panic button will be pushed and we’ll end up with something that we regret wishing for in a big target man.
For what it’s worth, I think it’s essential we keep Michy – not only for his great character but also his ability and potential.