Clearly Jose Mourinho and the powers that be at Chelsea are serious about their intentions of winning not only the domestic cup competitions and the Champions League but most importantly the Premier League which has been clearly demonstrated in their transfer activities this summer where they signed 8 players with 5 of them expected to immediately contribute in the first team squad.
The centre forward options for Mourinho comprise Spaniard Fernando Torres, Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o, German Andre Schurrle and Senegalese Demba Ba. Up until the last hour of the transfer window this list also contained the strapping young Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku who had such an excellent season on loan at West Brom last year scoring 17 goals, leading the line and being the “go to” player for the Baggies manager Steve Clarke when he needed a goal or needed to give his team some impetus. Many felt that Lukaku had done enough to earn his chance with the Chelsea first team but as Jose Mourinho has said, since the move to Everton for Lukaku was completed, the Belgian striker was sent out on loan again because he needs to play and he simply was not going to get the playing time he needs to continue his development if he stayed at Chelsea this season.
So what this means is that Mourinho is principally going to use Torres and Eto’o with Ba offering back up and Schurrle playing in a number of positions as well as offering cover in the striking department. While no-one can deny that Torres and Eto’o are truly world class players it certainly can be argued that they both are on the downside of their careers. Torres scored 65 goals in 102 games for Liverpool before he left in the winter transfer window of 2011 – an excellent return by any standards. Since his move to Chelsea, Torres has found the back of the net 15 times in 84 games – hardly a world class return.
Eto’o has had better goal returns lately scoring 25 times in 53 games for Anzhi Makhachkala and he added 33 goals in 67 games for Inter Milan. His goal returns for both of these teams are however a far cry from the 108 goals he scored for Barca during the 145 games he played for the Spanish giants. Eto’o is 32 years of age and while he is a genuine superstar, he is on the decline and he now has to adjust to a new more physically demanding league late in his career – an adjustment which other superstar strikers have found most difficult (the name of Ukrainian striker Andriy Shevchenko comes to mind).
Mourinho is definitely expecting these 2 strikers to do the bulk of the scoring for Chelsea and he is placing his faith in them as he has said that he is moulding the team around Torres and he has spent big bucks to bring Eto’o to West London in the form of paying the extraordinary wages the Cameroonian striker was on at Anzhi.
The “Special One” obviously knows his stuff but you can’t help but think that having Torres and Eto’o as your two main strikers in 2008-2009 would have meant you would have had the most lethal strike force in the world but 5 years on you cannot really say the same thing or can you expect the same results from the two players. Torres has never been the same since his hamstring injury which he reinjured in the 2010 World Cup and as a result has never had the same explosive pace and Eto’o is simply getting on a bit now and has the extremely difficult task of acclimatising to the Barclays Premier League late on in his career which many have failed to do.
Let’s hope Mourinho can roll back the years and get the best out of both Torres and Eto’o this season and that he does not regret letting Romelu Lukaku go to Everton on loan. The Spanish and the Cameroonian strikers have been the best in Europe before and let’s hope they can return to that kind of form again and that they have not exceeded their best before dates.