Do Chelsea need a suitable striker?  Aubameyang?  Broja?  Havertz or Sterling?

Do Chelsea need a suitable striker? Aubameyang? Broja? Havertz or Sterling?

Do Chelsea need a suitable striker?  Aubameyang?  Broja?  Havertz or Sterling?

Mason Mount and Kai Havertz
Mason Mount and Kai Havertz are two of Chelsea’s main goalscoring threats at the moment

Chelsea have started the season without a striker in the first team… and the question is: do they need one?

Romelu Lukaku’s £97.5m return last summer was meant to be the missing piece of the puzzle, but after just eight Premier League goals, he returned on loan to Inter Milan.

Timo Werner, who often played on the wing but could also play as a striker, also returned on loan to his former club RB Leipzig.

Both players scored last Saturday on their return to their former clubs.

That leaves only 20-year-old Albanian international Armando Broja, who is unlikely to be a regular starter, at striker for the Blues.

So who could Chelsea sign? Will Broja have a chance? Or will they spend the season without a number nine?

Will Chelsea sign Aubameyang from Barcelona?

Chelsea are being linked with Barcelona striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Only four players have scored more Premier League goals than Aubameyang’s total of 68 in the period since 31 January 2018, the date he joined Arsenal.

The 33-year-old former Gabonese international scored 92 goals in 163 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal but left in February after falling out with manager Mikel Arteta.

He joined Barca, scoring 13 goals in 23 games, but could now leave after they signed Robert Lewandowski.

Aubameyang and Chelsea boss Tuchel worked together at Borussia Dortmund with great success in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Tuchel recently said: “Some players are still your players because you were very, very close and Auba is one of those players.”

The striker scored 79 goals in 95 games in two seasons with the German, 38 more goals than he managed under any other coach.

Premier League top scorers since 31 January 2018
Only four players have scored more Premier League goals than Aubameyang since joining Arsenal on January 31, 2018.

Former Republic of Ireland striker Clinton Morrison told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Chelsea would be the right club for Aubameyang. A manager he respects will only help him.”

“They’ve made remarkable signings and if they get Aubameyang he’ll score goals so I wouldn’t let them go.” [from being contenders] this season if that happens.”

However, former England international Matt Upson “isn’t entirely convinced”.

“Auba shares were not that high due to problems with Arsenal,” he said. “However, you know that he will bring goals. Wouldn’t Chelsea want younger players?

“If they want to be competitive with the best, they have to score 80 or 90 goals or more. They don’t have that at the moment. If Aubameyang is that man, then good luck to them.”

Should Chelsea give Broja a chance?

Armando Broja
Armando Broja has come off the bench in both of Chelsea’s Premier League games this season

Chelsea have a striker in their squad, but the question is whether he will get the chance.

Albanian international Broja, who was born in Slough, has been on the Stamford Bridge books since 2009.

Last season he went on loan to Southampton and scored six goals in the Premier League and nine in all competitions.

Only Mason Mount (11), Lukaku and Kai Havertz (eight each) scored more than six league goals for Chelsea last season.

Broja would also give Chelsea a totally different option. He won 88 aerial duels in the league last season, with Lukaku leading the Blues’ forwards with 51.

The youngster also completed more dribbles, 88, than any of the Blues’ front row.

Broja, whose pre-season was interrupted by injury, came on for Havertz in Chelsea’s first two games of the season: a 1-0 win over Everton and a 2-2 draw with Tottenham.

Former West Ham defender Upson said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “He has that young, fearless attitude and if he can handle that magnitude and pressure, he can be the answer right there. He could become something special.”

Broja has been linked with Newcastle and Everton, which would leave the club without a striker, although Tuchel says he hopes he will stay.

Could Chelsea play without a striker?

sterling rahim
Raheem Sterling often played in a strikerless team at Manchester City

Manchester City showed last season that they can win the Premier League title without a striker, although this summer they have signed two in Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez.

One of their three players to reach double figures in the league last season, Raheem Sterling, joined Chelsea this summer for £50m.

He has experience playing the ‘false nine’ role, as has Havertz, who has done so regularly for the Blues the past two seasons.

After Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham, former West Ham midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker said: “It’s a huge request to ask Sterling to play in that role and, against some of the teams they will face, I just don’t think he’s going to have much joy.

“Chelsea needs someone like [former striker Didier] Drogba, that figure who scores goals, just to carry the load and be that true number nine.”

Mount, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi are other attacking options, but not attacking.

Chris Sutton, who scored three goals for the Blues in 1999-2000, added: “I thought Lukaku would make the difference but he didn’t. Havertz is absolutely not a natural. They are all good footballers but where is the finishing touch? “

The Blues are currently trying to sign Everton striker Anthony Gordon. with a £45m bid rejected – but the England Under-21 international plays more wide than striker.

Former England goalkeeper Rob Green, who finished his career at Stamford Bridge in 2019, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “Is Gordon coming into the starting 11? I think the money could go better elsewhere.”

BBC Sport’s Alistair Magowan said: “Tuchel is interested in adding intensity to his team, and especially to his attack, which is why he has signed Sterling and is interested in Gordon.

“He is also the reason why Timo Werner has left, and why Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi could all go on loan.

“That will freshen up the attack and instill the kind of mid-opposition pressure Tuchel is looking for, but will it mean Chelsea are more effective if done without strikers? That remains doubtful, making Broja’s departure unlikely and adding another striker more realistic. option.”

Is Chelsea’s number nine shirt cursed?

Premier League goals scored by Chelsea's last 13 number nines (while wearing that number)
Premier League goals scored by Chelsea’s last 13 number nines (while wearing that number)

Chelsea don’t have a number nine this season – literally – after Lukaku’s departure. It’s the fourth time this century they’ve gone into a season without anyone wearing that jersey number.

“People tell me it’s cursed,” chief Thomas Tuchel joked earlier this month.

“Players sometimes want to change the numbers. But surprisingly, no one wants to touch it.”

In the last 20 seasons, when someone has worn the number nine shirt for Chelsea, they have only scored a combined 150 Premier League goals, an average of 7.5 per season.

Sutton (one), Mateja Kezman (four), Franco di Santo (zero), Radamel Falcao (one), Gonzalo Higuaín (five) and Lukaku (eight) are among the strikers who wear the shirt for one season and fail to reach the double figures.

No one scored a goal in the league wearing number nine between Hernán Crespo in 2005-06 and Fernando Torres in 2010-11.

If Chelsea sign a striker, could they take another number?

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