Forget Falcao and Cavani! May I present: Lewandowski and Bony!

In my eyes, the one thing that can be guaranteed about our summer transfer policy is that a striker will be coming to the club. The only...

In my eyes, the one thing that can be guaranteed about our summer transfer policy is that a striker will be coming to the club. The only striker that will definitely be playing for us next season is Ba, and the futures of Torres and Lukaku are yet to be seen.

Let us make the rather safe assumption that either Torres will be sold, or Lukaku will be loaned out again, or both. Can anyone really see us heading into next season with Ba, Torres and Lukaku?? A decent yet squad striker, a poor/ unpredictable/ I-don’t-know-what-to-say-about-the-guy striker, and a young and maturing striker. Well short of somebody gluing that mask onto Torres’ face, I don’t think we will be able to rely on that trio, nor do I think the club will plan to.

For a very, very long time, we have been linked with Falcao and Cavani. Prospectively two big names, and two big money signings. They are both impressive footballers and have earned the reputations that they carry, but despite this I think we can be more intelligent and shrewd with our business. I’m not here to tell you they’re overrated (they’re not), I just want to propose a couple of other realistic options.

The first is Wilfried Bony. For those who aren’t familiar with him, he is 24 years old, from the Ivory Coast, a man-mountain at 6ft and 85kg, and plays in the Dutch league for Vitesse. There are plenty of reasons to be interested in him and the main one is that he has scored 29 goals in 26 appearances this season, wowza! At this point the same old people will chip in with “oh, but that’s in the Dutch league, there’s no way he could do it in the greatest league in the world!” Well, I say to that:
1. We are arguably not the greatest league in the world at the moment. Spain are ahead of us in UEFA’s rankings and Germany are likely to overtake us as well at the end of the season.
2. Plenty of great strikers have come out of Holland; Van Nistelrooy, Van Persie, Berkamp, Huntelaar, Ibrahimovic and Suarez to name a few.
To be fair, this doesn’t guarantee success, the likes of Kezman and Altidore have done well there too. It does however show that the “weaker league argument” is itself weak. This goes for the Portuguese and French league too.

The second reason that we should be interested in him is that Vitesse would undoubtedly favour us, and because we would get him for a lot less money that Falcao and Cavani. For starters he plays for Vitesse, a club that we have very close links to and that many of our youngsters have been sent to on loan over the years. Right now we have Kalas, Kakuta and Van Aanholt playing there. With a relationship like this in place, we would have a one-up on the competition (and trust me, there would/will be competition). I don’t know what his contract situation is like, but even if he has a lot of time left on it we would likely be able to purchase his services around the £20 million mark, maybe less if his contract is favourable to us. The rumour was £12 million (!!!) but I think that’s unlikely to be true.

The third reason is that he fits the system that Chelsea have played with ever since Drogba joined. I don’t like calling players the ‘new this’ or the ‘new that’ but I guess it makes sense here; I think he is the most similar player to what Drogba was out there. It’s not that which interests me though, rather that we at Chelsea are used to playing with a big and strong target man primarily. That is what he is, quick, strong and powerful and able to hold the ball up.

Wait a sec though, don’t we have a player that fits that criteria already? Yah, we do. Lukaku is proficient at all of that as well (could even make an argument for Ba), and to be honest it’s a fair reason to not go for him, because we already have that kind of forward. That said, Bony is in my eyes better than Lukaku, but only because he has already got the experience that Lukaku is now getting. Lukaku will be vying for a starting place sooner or later. Still, I would be delighted if we signed Bony. Also worth mentioning that we were linked with him a couple of times towards the end of March. Here’s the routine youtube video for those who want to see what I’m talking about (keep an eye out for a couple of guest appearances from our loanees).

The second option, and I’ll say now the man I would personally want to sign, is Lewandowski. I'll say a little less on him since he's a higher profile player who needs less of an introduction. I promise, this is NOT a knee-jerk reaction to his cracking performance against Malaga the other night. A lot of people have been jumping on his bandwagon because of that, it being the only, or one of the only, games they have seen him play. As it so happens though, despite it being a knee-jerk reaction, that is the bandwagon I think they should be on. Those among us who have watched him play more regularly or follow him at all would surely tell the rest that he is the real deal.

He is top Scorer in the Bundesliga with 21 goals in 25 appearances, and add the 5 assists that he has (Falcao has 1, Cavani 3 and Bony 4) to that and he contributes to more than 1 goal per game. He would give us something different to Ba and Lukaku and, aside from his goal scoring record, his link-up play is superb. Furthermore he's likely to be for sale in the summer as he has only one year left on his contract, and the general manager of Dortmund has already said that he won’t be signing a new contract:

"Robert Lewandowski is not going to sign a new contract. We will have to see if he is going to be on the move in the summer."

Dortmund may well be looking to cash in on him before his contract runs out, similar to what Arsenal did with Van Persie, and I for one hope Chelsea will be one of many clubs waiting to pounce if this comes to be. If Van Persie went for £26 million-ish, then I expect Lewandowski would, like Bony, cost around £20 million, give or take a little. Chelsea have apparently been linked with him today by the most widely distributed newspaper in Germany, Bild, although all that was seemingly said was that we were interested in him and that Dortmund value him at 30 million Euros (roughly £23 million). Sadly, this is the only time I have seen us linked to him, but surely any intelligently run club (oh, wait….) would be in for him?? City and United have been though, obviously not content with the monopolies on strikers that they already have, and I really hope they don’t get him.

Excuse the horrendous table above, but its there so you can see their stats from for yourself.

Why them over Falcao and Cavani then? Well the way I see it, I would mention all four of these strikers in the same breath. If you don’t think you can compare Bony and Lewandowski to them, just look at the stats this season. Falcao has 22 goals in 27 appearances (0.81 goals per-game), and Cavani has 22 in 28 (0.78 GPG), meaning Bony (1.11) and Lewandowski (0.84) have better goals to games ratios than the other two, despite these being small margins. 

If I’ve convinced you that Bony and especially Lewandowski are in the same class, then surely we should be targeting them if we can get them for roughly £30 million less??? Hey, Cavani and Falcao are great, I’m a huge fan of them both, but for the money that’s being reported and when there are certainly other cheaper, quality options out there, I would personally be more interested in the other two.

This wouldn’t be worth writing if I didn’t think we would potentially go for Bony and Lewandowski. As I’ve already said, there is plenty of reason to believe we will, especially with United and City sniffing around Falcao and Cavani. Incidentally, if I had my pick of these two, I would take Cavani since he can play as a central or wide attacking midfielder as well.

To be honest, signing either Cavani or Falcao for that money scares me a little; déjà vu anyone? Even if you take Bony and Lewandowski out of the picture, there are still others like Yilmaz, Higuain and Jovetic out there. I focus more on Bony and Lewandowski because I think they are the most realistic and likely options.

Imagine though… Lewandowski, Ba and Torres - OR Lewandowski, Ba and Lukaku. Falcao, Cavani and Bony have a nice ring to it as well of course, but Lewandowski would be the value-for-money buy of the summer.

Follow on twitter:@cody_bound

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