If you were to tell someone who has been switched off from the game of football for seven years that Radamel Falcao, Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres all have played for Chelsea at some stage, they may ask, “Have Chelsea dominated European football since I was last up to date?”
The answer is no, they certainly have not. Chelsea may be the most successful team in England, in terms of major trophies won, since the start of the Roman Abramovich era, but they have been in the shadows of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich for the most part due to their own inconsistency. The three strikers named above are or have been involved with a Chelsea side past their peak.
Whether it was transfer record-setting Fernando Torres who came to Chelsea from Liverpool in 2011 for £50 million – but could only conjure up a goal every five and a half games while never fully regaining his renowned form – or the acquirement of three-time Champions League-winning Samuel Eto’o – who could only seem to play decently at home – or the two most recent signings, Falcao and Pato on loan from Manchester United and Brazilian side Corinthians respectively, who will not get near the starting position up front due to the fine form of Diego Costa; there is no hiding Chelsea like to bring in big names.
But the question is, is this all necessary?
If we take a look at what the Blues’ attacking options now are – they have the bang in-form Costa (five goals in his last five league games), the decent deputy in Loic Remy and now two players who have not displayed top, top quality in over two years.
The latter two transport this writer’s mind back to a time when Torres was struggling to rekindle the magic of the past. Every commentator, pundit and journalist believed it was all a matter of confidence with El Nino, but the fact of the matter is he either A) Suffered an injury he could never recover from. Or B) Never trusted his recovery and was unwilling to fully test his hamstrings.
Falcao can be placed within the same bracket. Jose Mourinho was once quoted in a Canal Football Club (via the Evening Standard) interview saying, “A player like him (Falcao) can’t play in front of 3,000 people. Monaco is a club to end [your career with]” when he was asked about what strikers interested him.
He did not believe the career of Falcao was meant to end in Monte Carlo and once the forward moved to Manchester United and went even more south, Mourinho pounced.
However, maybe the Special One was wrong again? After bringing the Colombian to Stamford Bridge before the Portuguese manager’s departure, Chelsea were given a striker who was once quick, powerful and deadly. Now they are stuck with a player who may never trust his knee following extensive surgery on his ligaments, which ruled him out for a year and the 2014 World Cup.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Chelsea did not learn their lesson and have now turned to a loan move for Brazilian striker Pato. Once partner in crime with Andrea Pirlo at AC Milan and dubbed the next big thing to come out of Brazil, his pace sent shivers down defenders’ spines in Serie A for a few seasons before persistent hamstring injuries put him out of favour with the Rossoneri. He returned to Brazil and at Corinthians he underwhelmed with 28 goals in 89 games, which included a loan spell at Sao Paulo. So why have Chelsea not learned from their past misjudgements?
There are only two problems at the Bridge and that is the gullible nature of the club and Michael Emenalo, who has been Technical Director at Chelsea since 2011. His job is to “head the scouting and academy programmes”.
In that time, Chelsea have seen a man who is obviously stuck in the past. Emenalo has seen the big names and his face glows with the prospect of obtaining these big signings, but in reality he is, along with Chelsea, oblivious that these players are past it.
Brein McGinn, Pundit Arena