Chelsea have been continuously linked with a number of top European strikers this summer as Antonio Conte aims to bolster his frontline ahead of the forthcoming Premier League season – but who is likely to be leading the line against Burnley on August 12th?
The Blues missed out on securing the services of their former striker Romelu Lukaku last week as the powerful frontman signed for rivals Manchester United in a deal worth £75 million. The Premier League Champions have added Antonio Rudiger from Roma, further increasing their defensive options and adding competition for David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta but they remain light up top and the Blues must rectify this before the beginning of August.
Diego Costa played a huge part in Chelsea’s success last season, notching 20 times in 35 appearances but appears to have fallen out of favour with the manager, who advised the striker not to return to pre-season training at the start of July amidst rumours of a summer transfer to Atletico Madrid. The Spanish striker’s departure would leave just Loic Remy and Michy Batshuayi on the books of the West London club with less than a month to go until their Community Shield clash with Arsenal.
As well as Lukaku, Chelsea have been linked with Torino’s Andrea Belotti, Alvaro Morata and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The latter has also been the subject of interest from PSG but he is believed to have held talks with the Premier League outfit this summer. The Dortmund star would likely command a fee of around £62million and they would be required to beat off competition from AC Milan, Liverpool and Manchester City for the services of the free-scoring Gabon international.
Alvaro Morata was the subject of heavy interest from Manchester United throughout June, with the Real Madrid striker frustrated at the lack of first-team opportunities afforded to him last season. The Los Blancos frontman is a gifted finisher and would be the ideal fit for Conte’s 3-4-3 formation but would also require a hefty sum to prise him away from the La Liga Champions.
Belotti had a breakthrough campaign at Torino last season, with the Serie A club believed to have slapped a £88 million price tag on their star asset. The young forward excelled under the attack-minded philosophy of Sinisa Mihajlovic last season, netting 26 times during the regular campaign.
Despite clinching the Premier League title year, Antonio Conte’s men have been priced up as 7/2 third-favourites for success next season in football betting markets. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are expected to significantly improve next year and will be aiming to justify 15/8 favouritism.
Chelsea will undoubtedly be strong in both defence and midfield next season, but they require a top-class striker to fire them up the Premier League table. They will be aiming to defend their title without the temperamental Diego Costa and desperately need to replace his goals. Belotti’s price tag may scupper any deal for the young Italian but Alvaro Morata could easily become a Stamford Bridge favourite over the next few years. He has the finishing ability to match the aforementioned Costa and possesses a far less incendiary nature. He could be the perfect fit.