The future attacking plans of Chelsea will be very intriguing given the massive expenditure the club has outlaid on the area in recent transfer windows.
Since 2019 the club has spent around £298m on attacking players, be that centre forwards or wide attackers. £60m on Christian Pulisic, £33m on Hakim Ziyech, £45m on Timo Werner, £62m on Kai Havertz and £98m on Romelu Lukaku.
This of course is just an estimate based on their reported fees, as we know they are many other components of a transfer, but the money still racks up and demonstrates a high level of investment.
Looking at those names, very few (if any) can be deemed as overwhelming triumphs in recruitment yet. Pulisic’s injury issues are well documented, Ziyech’s performances have been erratic, Werner’s finishing a concern, Havertz inconsistent, whilst Lukaku has only just begun his second spell with the club, hurt by injury in October.
Though even with those struggles, there is clear talent within that investment, with three of the five players being under the age of 26, Chelsea have been burnt before by giving up on developing attackers too soon.
But that investment has not prevented the rumour mill churning and earlier this week’s sections of Chelsea social media were excited by a report from Italian outlet Calciomercato were claiming Chelsea have made the first contact to sign RB Salzburg striker Karim Adeyemi.
Adeyemi has netted 11 goals in 13 Bundesliga matches this term for the Austrian league leaders, who already sit 14 points clear of second-placed Wolfsberg.
The 19-year-old’s impressive goal tally has naturally led to comparisons to former Salzburg young stars like Erling Haaland and Patson Daka, two players who lit up Austria’s top tier before making a move to one of Europe’s more illustrious leagues with Borussia Dortmund and Leicester City.
There has been some debate amongst Chelsea fans over the potential need to recruit another forward in the January transfer window after the summer sales of Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud, also including the injuries to both Lukaku and Werner, which effectively forced Tuchel to field Havertz in the central attacking role.
With Armando Broja out on loan with Southampton, it would likely suit the Albanian to remain with the Saints where he is likely to get regular Premier League minutes which will be beneficial to his development.
If these early reports prove to be more noteworthy in the coming months, who would that affect in the current attacking crop, if the club went all out for Adeyemi?
The sheer investment in Lukaku, plus his quality and reputation means his place as Tuchel’s first choice is pretty safe. Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz all can play around the central attacking role. The figure you would look most towards is Timo Werner, who was signed to score goals.
Even though his positioning for RB Leipzig and Chelsea has seen the forward on the left of an attacking lineup rather than as the classic nine, the German’s reputation was purely built on his ability to become one of Europe’s most effective finishers the 2019/20 season.
What has become clear over his time at Chelsea are the limitations to his game which means he does not possess the technical skill of other wide attackers who Tuchel can field.
Chelsea deciding to sign another central attacker would pose questions as to why the club decided to buy the German in 2020 and what the plans would be for him beyond that?
It could leave director Marina Granovskaia with a question of whether a lucrative fee could be attained for Werner.
Even appreciating Werner’s struggle to adapt to English football, you would suspect there could be takers in the Bundesliga where his style is more suited to the high pressing, the transitional game he thrived in under Julian Nagelsmann.
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A bit like Granovskaia did for Alvaro Morata in 2019 when a big-money forward failed to live up to expectation, Chelsea was able to attract £58m from Atletico Madrid for a player who many had written off.
Adeyemi would do well to copy Haaland and Daka’s path before him, being better served moving to a club that are more likely to give him the proper room to develop his game, rather than jumping into a high-pressure title-chasing environment where he could be forced to settle with limited minutes.
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