Reports came out of Chelsea camp this morning that summer signing Diego Costa picked up a hamstring injury and may be out anywhere from 1 day (sanguine Sky Sports) to 6 weeks (fear-mongering Metro). An official announcement should be forthcoming.
Could this injury finally spark Chelsea into action? There is no doubt the squad is stronger than that which finished 4 points back in the EPL and 2 wins from the Champions League title last season. There is also no doubt that the team is lacking in dependable strikers behind Diego Costa (a Liverpudlian named Romulu Lukaku is wryly smiling). Surprisingly, merry Mourinho has not seemed concerned about his lack of 9s this summer. Let’s take a look at the team’s current options:
Didier Drogba: All the superlatives for Drogba are deserved. The Cote D’Ivorian is a Chelsea legend; the forward who Mourinho recruited and rode to two Premier League titles, the stalwart who brought Roman Abramovich the silverware the Russian coveted. He is also 36-years old and not a viable full-time strike option.
Fernando Torres: AC Milan, having recently sold Mario Balotelli to Liverpool, are supposedly in the market for an ordinary and overpaid striker and have been negotiating a loan deal with Chelsea for the former Liverpool wonderkid. Torres has more stamina than Drogba but his lack of clinical finishing will inevitably raise Mourinho’s blood pressure and test his patience.
Andrea Schurrle: The Special One experimented with the German World Cup Champion up top last season with mixed results. With a loaded midfield, Schurrle may have a better chance for minutes at forward with Willian in his preferred right wing role. He does have a knack for goal scoring and can likely slot into the role against lesser opponents, including domestic Cup games.
As it stands, if Costa misses time, the Torres loan deal will likely be nixed and he would start. Drogba would retain his role of super-sub and sage, and Schurrle would provide an additional toy for Mourinho to play with. Alternatively, Mourinho could climb through the transfer window and come back with another world-class number 9 in the form of Radamel Falcao or Edinson Cavani. More modest options include Loic Remy of QPR, Jackson Martinez of Porto, and Mattia Destro of Roma. Clock is ticking.