A year ago, while still basking in the glow of becoming European champions, many Chelsea fans didn’t take much notice of the departures of Anelka, Drogba, and Kalou, anticipating that Chelsea woud replace them with at least one world-class striker.
Many of us were in shock when the transfer window closed last summer and Chelsea had not brought in any strikers, relying on Torres and Sturridge. When Sturridge got hurt early in the season, Chelsea had to play Torres almost every week in a lone striker role, meaning that he was exhausted half-way through the season.
The signing of Demba Ba in January did not help as Chelsea sold Sturridge to Liverpool, leaving them once again with two strikers. Ba was cup tied in Europe, meaning that Torres ended up playing in 16 European games last season on his way to a career high 64 games played.
For all of Torres 22 goals last season, the consensus was that Chelsea needed to improve the quality of its strike force this summer. Lukaku has been told that he would be staying with Chelsea this summer, and not going back on loan, and the expectation was that Chelsea would be bringing in one world class striker.
The two best strikers available this summer were Falcao and Cavani and Chelsea were heavily linked with both of them. Falcao went to the money in Monaco and Cavani to the money in Paris. For the first time in the Abramovich era, there are teams that could outbid Chelsea for the players that Chelsea wanted.
The second tier of strikers left included the likes of Lewandowski, Suarez, Tevez and Rooney. Lewandowski decided to go to Bayern in 12-months time, while Liverpool, Man United and Man City are not/will not sell to a Premier League rival.
That means that Chelsea will end up overpaying for a third tier striker like Hulk, Fred or Jovetić this summer, neither of whom are really a step up from Fenando Torres.
It amazes me that Chelsea are repeating the same mistakes that they made a year ago. With the changes in management at Old Trafford and Eastlands, this season was a perfect opportunity for Chelsea and Mourinho to close to gap on the two Manchester clubs. If Chelsea fall short this summer, they might look back with regret at this summer’s inability to sign a world class striker when they had a chance.