When you look at the current Chelsea squad and think what kind of striker we need, it is true that Torres in his current form is definitely the kind of player that works with our squad. This should be the case judging by the fact that most of our new signings were purchased with Torres in mind. The other two strikers we own, Lukaku and Sturridge, don’t necessarily fit in with our current setup.
Lukaku is more of a bruiser in the Drogba mold. This is definitely a useful player to have on your team, especially someone who shows signs of skill like Lukaku does. As a backup plan or for giving teams a different look, this is the kind of player you need on your team. Could he be as good as Drogba? I would highly doubt that, but that doesn’t mean he’s not worth keeping.
Sturridge on the other hand is more of the selfish striker type. He’s like a Falcao that isn’t as good (and they claim we are buying him, so who knows). He drifts out to the wing, poaches pretty well, and shoots when he should pass and passes when he should shoot sometimes, but more likely than not he will shoot on-sight. This isn’t the worst thing if your striker is scoring 30+ goals a year a la Falcao, but Sturridge has been known to frustrate more than amaze. Is he a skilled striker, with speed, a decent weak foot, and some ability to make good passes? Yes, but he has his deficiencies. I have the feeling that he really is the kind of player who needs to start most games in order to get in a rhythm and score a lot of goals. Look what happened when he was loaned to Bolton for the second half of 2010-11, or when he started under AVB during the first half of last season. He has the potential to be a Darren Bent, scoring loads of goals for lower level teams but never quite getting the proper run on the big teams to prove his worth.
I think Sturridge will get his goals when given a consistent run in the team, but will he be able to become a solid contributor as a second striker who either comes off the bench or mainly starts secondary games (lower level EPL opponents, League Cup, etc.)? Now that he appears to have lost his berth on the wing in the 4-3-3 formation, this may well be his only way to get games unless Torres goes through a dry spell or is injured. Do I think we need him this year? Definitely as Torres will be overworked if this usage rate keeps up.
But is it wise to sell him? This depends on whether a suitable replacement is purchased in advance. Selling him without a guarantee of an incoming player (in January at least) would be a horrible mistake. The apparent replacement options are Loic Remy of Marseille or Falcao, but he won’t become available until the summer according to Atletico Madrid.
Remy has a decent record in Ligue 1 with Nice and Marseille over the past few years. Scoring an average of 13 goals per season in the league, this year he has been relegated to the bench due to the surprising form of Andre Pierre-Gignac. This may make him cheaper to purchase as he may be seen as surplus to requirements at the Stade Velodrome. A bid of £15 million from Chelsea was rejected in the summer, but that was before former exile Gignac was one of the top scorers in the league. While I have personally never focused on Remy while watching Marseille, he appears to have the build of a good striker and could have potential, but how much more than Sturridge?
Does it make sense to sell Sturridge to replace him with Remy, almost 3 years his senior? Should we just wait and splash the cash on Falcao in the summer (and potentially send Torres back into the doldrums)? Let me know what you think.