Jan Molby

Chelsea MUST sign Cavani to end their striking woes – and here’s why

Jan Molby

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Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain proved beyond doubt that Chelsea need to rip things up and start again when it comes to their attack this summer, and they should rebuild their frontline around one of their opponents in the Champions League: Edinson Cavani.

The Uruguay international would be their best bet in a summer window in which they absolutely have to sign a top-level striker. While other reputed targets like Falcao and Diego Costa have merit, Cavani seems like the perfect fit for Jose Mourinho’s side.

Falcao relies too heavily on chances to be created on his behalf and Chelsae are not a team who create a lot of chances so I fear he could be starved a bit. Costa has had a super season – it almost goes without saying that whoever plays up front for Atletico Madrid, and it was Falcao before him, excels – but I still have my doubts about whether he would be as effective in the Premier League.

Cavani has all the right qualities though. He has a fantastic work-rate, which is something Mourinho expects of his strikers, but he also has the ability to do things on his own. He is also very quick and I think he should be Chelsea’s top target.

Moreover, he could be available. It appears, although he is having a good season, he is not enjoying playing second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He would cost a lot of money, but top quality players are expensive these days, and while Costa and Falcao are the most important players at their respective clubs, Cavani is not. That makes him more attainable.

He doesn’t seem to me to be a player who gets involved in a lot of physical stuff because he is always on the move. You wouldn’t see him play like Drogba; rather he relies on clever runs and his pace. The physical side of things is not his strength but given his all-round qualities he suits Chelsea perfectly.

If I was in charge at Chelsea I wouldn’t want to keep hold of any of the strikers currently on the club’s books. I wouldn’t have wanted them last summer and I also wouldn’t have brought Samuel Eto’o back to the top echelon of European football. Eto’o went to Russia for one season: money. And in that time he forgot how to play football. It was Mourinho’s idea to bring him back.

Even if I had have stuck with them, I think I would have worked harder with them and at least get to the stage where I could say, ‘He is my number one striker’. Mourinho has worked very hard at getting Willian and Eden Hazard very involved in the game and very effective but if only he had worked harder at getting one of his strikers and saying, ‘look, you are my main man and I am going to find a system that suits you’.

Instead they have a situation where Andre Schuerrle – not a natural striker - starts against Paris Saint-Germain, and what a kick in the teeth that was for his collection of centre-forwards. The last thing they wanted to see in a game like that was a makeshift option starting ahead of them, and it was the same thing at Old Trafford earlier in the season. It is demoralising.

Mourinho overstepped the line in his criticism of his strikers on Wednesday night though. I don’t quite know what his agenda is with his team this season. He has been playing down their chances all season, even claiming they cannot win the title when they have been in first place.

Twenty years ago, having a pop at your players like that might have acted as a motivational tool because players had a tendency to stay at their clubs and fight for their place when things got tough. Now players just wave their arms about and say, ‘I want to go somewhere else’.

It seems even more strange when you consider that last time he was here, every player seemed almost ready to die for him. He protected his players and looked after them, giving them the greatest experience of their careers, but this time it’s like he doesn’t want to know. It’s as if he is reminding us all the time that it is not his team.

Even if it’s clear where he needs to strengthen, he still has some super players. Furthermore he has had two transfer windows now to do something about the problems in attack, but he has failed to do it despite spending lots of money in January.

Instead of bringing in a new striker they signed a defender who was loaned back to St Etienne in Kurt Zouma, a forward who might not be ready for 18 months in Mohamed Salah and they spent £21m on Nemanja Matic, when they have plenty of midfielders. I find it staggering they did that.

It also looks rather careless to have let Romelu Lukaku spent the season on loan at Everton, where he has impressed after a previous loan spell at West Brom, and I would certainly move to bring him back into the fold this summer.

He has got a lot of improvement in him, and although he does need to step up a level, there is no doubt he is worth persisting with. You have got a striker at the age of 20 who can only get better – why would they want to get rid of him? Today there are suggestions his agent has been in talks with Spurs, but I’d look to get the best out of Lukaku at Stamford Bridge.

The problem is that he seems to have personal differences with Mourinho – stemming from last summer when he returned from West Brom but didn’t get much of a chance with Chelsea. He got frustrated and Mourinho sent him to Chelsea.

Lukaku has great potential and if Mourinho is the coach that everyone says he is, he should be able to improve him and make him a viable option next season, possibly alongside Cavani.

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