Chelsea fans know more than most that signing the perfect striker isn’t always easy. Even some of the best in the world don’t work out.
Andriy Shevchenko and Fernando Torres came to Stamford Bridge as some of the world’s top strikers – we both know how they turned out. Romelu Lukaku established himself as one of the world’s best young powerhouse strikers, and not even Samuel Eto’o’s incredible reputation led to a successful time at Chelsea. Even Mateja Kezman came to Stamford Bridge with an incredible scoring record.
So with the 2014/15 season well underway, we’ve taken a look at Europe’s top teams, who has made the most of their new flashy forwards and who has yet to produce?
Without bias, Chelsea have probably made the most of their new strikeforce. Diego Costa has hit the ground running, Didier Drogba has shown he’s still got ‘it’ at the age of 36 and Loic Remy has shown some clinical finishing in the few chances he’s had.
In Costa and Remy, Chelsea finally have strikers who have the power (speed x strength) and the technique to get involved with the play in front of the defence, but also to make the runs in behind the defence. And even though he’s not as nimble as he once was, Drogba still has a keen eye for goal.
The less said about Liverpool’s new strikers the better. Ricky Lambert has barely been given a look-in and Mario Balotelli has been, well, Mario Balotelli.
Radamel Falcao – is he still there? The Colombian striker was supposed to take the Premier League by storm during his loan spell at Old Trafford. But injuries have kept him on the sidelines and almost made the whole thing a waste of time.
It’s fair to say that Luis Suarez’s Barcelona career hasn’t exactly taken off since his return from suspension. He’s gone from being one of the best players in the Premier League to not even being the star in his team, let alone La Liga. When Luis Enrique has played Suarez as a striker, it’s forced Messi out-wide. Unsurprisingly, it has affected Messi’s performances and soon enough, the two have been swapped.
Danny Welbeck has probably had the most indifferent start to his career at his new club. He’s shown flashes of brilliance and signs that he could really develop into a consistent goal scorer, but he’s also shown the inconsistencies which led Louis van Gaal to let him leave United.
With seven goals and three assists in 14 Bundesliga matches, Robert Lewandowski hasn’t exactly set the world alight since his summer switch to Bayern Munich. That’s not to say he hasn’t done well – a goal every other game is more than impressive. What became apparent during his time at Borussia Dortmund is that he’s more than capable of joining in with the build-up play. He gives Bayern something different as the spearhead of their attacks, similarly to how Diego Costa has at Chelsea.
With a big Lewandowski shaped hole up front, Dortmund turned to the Italian Ciro Immobile for goals. Immobile’s time at Dortmund rather mirrors the team’s performance. In the Champions League, he has been almost unstoppable – prior to the final group match, he even boasted a better mins/goal ratio that Cristiano Ronaldo. In many ways, Immobile was the perfect replacement for Lewandowski. He has the technical ability to link up with the more skilful players in the team around the edge of the box, but he has the finishing ability to cap moves off with a goal. In the Bundesliga however, it’s a different story. With Dortmund lagging at the wrong end of the table, Immobile has managed just three goals in 12 league appearances.
After an incredible season, Atletico had a hole to fill after Diego Costa left for Chelsea. Despite the fans pleading for the return of Fernando Torres, Diego Simeone opted for Mario Mandzukic. Replacing Costa’s goals isn’t an easy thing to do, but he’s done okay. Six goals in 13 league appearances is a decent return. But five Champions League goals from six goals is a definite sign of him settling in to the side well.