Jose Must Sign a Striker or Risk Title

It has been well-documented that it is the only flaw in our starting eleven. A goalscorer. Yes, we have Fernando Torres, but he is not the most consistent to say the least. Demba Ba is hardly ever given a chance by Jose to prove his worth. I can even go as far as to say that Ba is being used a scapegoat for the difficulties of his two attacking team-mates. Meanwhile, it is fair to say Samuel Eto’o is not the player he once was.

Shoot a glance at the most menacing of our title rivals, Manchester City. You don’t have to look far to see why City are favourites for the Premier League crown this season. It is indisputable that we are a match for them in midfield, much more solid and compact in defence but Pellegrini’s side undoubtedly posses a more potent force upfront. Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero have eight and 13 goals each, more than the trio of Ba, Torres and Eto’o have managed. It can be argued that Ba, Torres and Eto’o are constantly rotated whilst Aguero and Negredo are sure of their place in the side. What is undeniable is that our three attackers are not on a par with the City duo.

So the million-pound question is how do we compete with a team who register the most goals the Barclays Premier League has ever seen at a half-way point of a season while our forwards have managed only seven goals between them. Torres only netted our first goal scored by a striker away from home for over a year on Saturday. This million-pound question has a very simple answer Jose has struggled to figure out. Sign a world-class, proven and prolific goalscorer in the January transfer window.

Despite becoming agitated with his strikers’ ineptitude to score, therefore resulting in dropping points in Premier League matches this season (Everton, Newcastle and Stoke), Mourinho has revealed that he will not use the January transfer window as an opportunity to reinforce his squad.

The Portuguese coach insists that he has a long-term vision at Stamford Bridge, where he will allow his current players to develop rather than recruiting expensive competition for the squad. The competition which would force players to play to their limits in order to keep their place.

He told reporters before our clash with Southampton: “I am happy with them and there will be no new strikers in January as we trust these guys and we go with them,” Mourinho said.

“They show ability, initiative, almost score goals, I am happy with them. They are not the kind of players who will score every weekend, or 30 goals a season. But they are giving everything they have.”

For me, this is not what I want to hear. With an Aguero or Suarez, we would undoubtedly be top of the league with a few points to spare. Now, with Arsenal eyeing up Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata while City await the return of Aguero from injury to resume his lethal partnership with Negredo, we could be in real trouble. If Hazard picks up an injury, who do we look to for goals?

With the teams around us preparing to strengthen this month, we could be in a spot of bother if we don’t do a bit of business ourselves.

There are 9 comments

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  1. Der_Kaiser

    The January window is fraught with problems – very few players are realistically available, those that are often have ridiculously inflated price tags and irrespective of how good they appear to be, you’re taking a chance as to whether they will adapt to the PL and fit the way we play quickly enough to make any meaningful impact on the rest of the season.

    I look at it this way – our strikers aren’t particularly prolific, we know that. But we are becoming much tougher to beat and very effective as a team. This counts for a lot. City – who were favourites for the title long before a ball was kicked and continue to be so – are out on their own in respect of goal scorers and arguably not a particularly realistic benchmark to compare with at this moment in time.

    Liverpool’s return is vastly inflated by Suarez who, while a very good player, has been filling his boots against the lesser PL teams and not really making much impact against the top 4 this season.

    Next are Arsenal – and we’re just 1 goal behind them. We’ve also had more individual goal scorers than any other side so far this season.

    Couple this with the fact we’ve improved dramatically at the back of late – just 3 goals conceded in the last 8 games – and the picture looks a little brighter still. We’re the only team not to be beaten by any one of Arsenal, City, Spurs, United or Liverpool this season. We also still have to play the two closest contenders in Arsenal and City – 6 points up for grabs there.

    So while it isn’t perfect, I’m not convinced that everything rides on getting another striker in this month. There aren’t many realistic targets and I’ll stand corrected if I’m wrong, but I just don’t think we’re in the £30-40m player market any more, least of all at a time of year when the prices are artificially inflated. Who knows, there may be the odd loan deal out there – I’m not holding my breath, though.

    (Aside of anything else, our own record for January signings (strikers in particular) is hardly spectacular – over £70m spent in recent years – Anelka is arguably the best of a bad bunch and even he didn’t make that much of an impact in that first half season. It being noted that Grant is on record as saying he didn’t want him at the time too.)

    Anyway, Mikel is a veritable goal machine now – no problem… 😉

    • GrocerJack

      Bloody hell, I agree with nearly every word the fine m’learned friend has written. One more pretty decent January signing, same time as Monsieur Anelka, was of course Branislav Ivanovic and he didn’t turn out too shabby now did he? I tend to agree though that January is a lottery, very few decent top players available. One days our strikers will click, and to be fair to Eto’o he was just getting into his stride before he got injured. And Torres? Surely the gypsy sign will end soon?

      • Ahmed Osoble

        What I’m saying is that our strikers are costing us priceless points. Newcastle, Stoke and Everton. It’s not good enough for us

  2. Blue_MikeL

    Well with you gentleman expressing common sense in your posts it is difficult to add anything else. However, I am afraid that with almost £50 mil of declared losses we need to sale in order to buy and might be even sale and not buy 🙁 at least this January. Think about whoever it is we can buy almost probably will be CL tied and won’t participate unless of course there is an unknown talent in some smaller club of which nobody is aware. We have striker – Lukaku, so in my mind we have to sell Ba and bring Lukaku back putting him in the pecking order in front of Eto’o and may be even Torres. Well surely Romelu has scored more than three of them.

  3. limetreebower

    Forgot to say — thanks for the recent couple of match reports, Ahmed.

    “Risk the title” is an interesting way of putting it. José has said numerous times this season that we’re not realistic contenders. Obviously one takes it with a pinch of salt but the point he’s making is about short term vs medium term planning. He’s drawing attention to the fact that this is a youngish team which should get steadily better over the next three years or so if given a chance to develop. That’s the rationale behind letting Lukaku go to Everton and bringing in a one-season player in his place; and I think it’s also the reason why JT and Frank have been given such important roles this season (although playing well they’re both clearly past their best but their influence over a developing team is the kind of thing José seems to take very seriously).

    From what I’ve seen of us this year (which is almost every home game) I don’t think we should be thinking about the title. It’s going to be a serious scrap for the CL positions this season, and that’s the only battle we absolutely have to win. Bring in a top-class striker (who, though?) and yes, we might pick up a few more points in the kind of games where we’ve dominated without winning, but we’d also be giving up on Lukaku, and there’s no guarantee we’d be champions anyway: Citeh have by far the strongest squad in the division, and (as others have pointed out) arquee January signings often don’t make much difference anyway.

    It actually seems like the club has a bit of a plan in place, for once. I’m sure they’d abandon it in a heartbeat if there was a bad run of results, but as long as we don’t miss out on the top four I think they’ll stick to it. Rather than repeating the Torres-Shevchenko disasters they’ve been paying medium money for players who are right at the beginning of top-level careers (Traore the recently-arrived and recently-then-departed Burkinabé kid is typical, as is poor Van Ginkel). No doubt the hilariously named “Financial Fair Play” — “fair” in the Thatcherite sense that the rich get to stay rich while everyone else is permanently f***ed — has something to do with it too.

    Not all the kids are going to be megastars, but we’ve already got two — Hazard and Oscar — who clearly are, plus Mata if he can find a position that isn’t already occupied by Oscar. Lukaku, Crazy David, Azpilicueta might turn into megastars if we’re lucky. Courtois is by all accounts a world-class goalie, not that we’ll need him for a few years the way things are going. Yes, it would be nice to be champions *now*, but there are never any guarantees no matter how mch money you throw at strikers (hello, Fernando). The sensible policy is surely to try and build the strongest squad you can over time, rather than chasing specific needs based on failings in four or five games.

    We’re actually doing better than I thought we would so far this season. I have a feeling the suits won’t be too disappointed at the moment either. I very much doubt we’ll see a striker signed this month, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were no first-team signings at all, unless (with Van Ginkel injured and Essien not really contributing) we can find a player to contribute from deeper in midfield, or a left back.

  4. Cunningplan

    All I can say his bloody hell!! nice to see some life back here, I was very close to administering the last rites to this blog.

    Hard to disagree with the comments about buying anyone special in January that would make a difference, but perhaps the possibility of a loan if the rumours are to be believed of Falcao until the end of the season wouldn’t be too big a gamble.

    Happy New Year everyone!

    • GrocerJack

      Hello Clive, I think we’re all under work pressures and that’s really got in the way of regulars being able to update the blog. it’s a bit dispiriting to write a match report over Xmas and new year knowing your hard work is only on the top billing for a day or two. Perhaps we need an allocated reported to cover all games within a period or something. However The Podding Shed is back after a mid-winter break so that’s something…I suppose

      • Cunningplan

        Hi Tony, thanks for the reply, wasn’t really having a dig at anyone in particular, and appreciate Xmas is a busy time for all.
        Just listened to the latest “Good Pub Guide” podding shed, which was entertaining as per usual.
        One question though…. has Mark’s new found fame in public broadcasting made posting reports, or comments on this blog, somewhat beneath him? 😉

        • GrocerJack

          Oh yes, he’s grasped the fame, the fortune and the celebrity status with both hands. He’s gone all Billy BigTime on us…..

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