When the Diego Costa saga began last season, many already knew the end result of the possible clash. As it turned out, Costa left the club and Chelsea forked out a fortune for him. However, the other problem it left Chelsea with was to replace the hard-hitting Brazilian born Spaniard.
When Chelsea signed Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata for a record club fee, many were sceptical about Morata’s ability to play as the first team striker for a big club in a big league. The Spaniard proved everyone wrong with his goal-scoring touch. He was as different as possible from Costa but both hitmen had one thing in common, they returned with goals.
However, as Chelsea enters into the crux of the season, it seems Morata has emptied his tank. In his first full season as a club’s number one hitman, Morata looks ill-prepared to cope up with the rigorous task of performing for 50 matches in the space of 9 months. Morata has around 15 goals to his name, a decent return for a debut season but his latest performances have left everyone wondering about his mental ability to cope with the pressure when the going gets tough. He has the worst “big chance conversion” record, something Conte will be unhappy about.
Matters get worse here as with Morata performing below standards, Chelsea cannot turn to their back up striker as well. Chelsea’s number two hitman, Michy Batshuayi has been far from what Conte wants in his strikers. The Italian is a master tactician and wants his team to play together in a specific way where the frontman can hold up the ball and link up the play with his teammates. Batshuayi has scored 10 goals this season for Chelsea, a highly impressive return given his lack of game time but most of the Belgian’s goals have come against weaker opponents and he has been tactically well below Conte’s required standards.
With Chelsea facing the prospect of a gruelling second half of the season and with Conte’s future in doubt, it seems the club wants to find the Italian a stop-gap solution to help him solve his team’s goal-scoring woes. Stoke City forward Peter Crouch is being linked with a loan move to Stamford Bridge under such circumstances.
The soon to be turning 37-year-old striker is an excellent holdup target man but whether he can play in the highest level of football for a big club is a big doubt for everyone. Mark Hughes’ sacking has seen him return to the first team at Stoke but the jump to Chelsea will be considerably higher and the Blues would be wise not to opt for such bizarre moves as there is no dearth of players in the market.