Outcast Chelsea striker Loic Remy finds himself at the heart of the seemingly never-ending club-vs-country debate this month.
On the one hand, the France international has seen just 146 minutes’ worth of Premier League action so far this season and will be desperate to secure more regular game-time ahead of next summer’s European championships on his home soil.
On the other, however, the Blues still need a backup option to Diego Costa for the rest of the campaign – especially amid rumours that loan flop Radamel Falcao could be heading to the MLS.
Plenty of clubs are reportedly very interested in taking Remy off the west London outfit’s hands on loan for the remainder of the campaign, not least including Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur and St. Etienne, but Chelsea are reluctant to let him leave without sourcing a replacement first.
With that in mind, Football Fancast have suggested FIVE potential replacements in a bid to keep the 29-year-old’s Euro 2016 dreams alive…
Let’s not rule out what Chelsea already have – namely, one of English football’s most exciting strike prospects in youngster Patrick Bamford.
The 22-year-old hardly saw the light of day at Crystal Palace, receiving just 119 minutes’ worth of Premier League action this season before deciding to terminate his season-long loan six months early.
But he picked up the Championship’s Player of the Year award last term after netting 17 times in 38 appearances for adoptive club Middlesbrough, regularly providing glimpses of his enormous potential.
Logic suggests that if he can’t make it into Alan Pardew’s first team, he probably can’t make it into Guus Hiddink’s either.
But with Chelsea’s season seemingly over as they lay 13 points away from a Champions League spot, the west Londoners can certainly afford to issue the England U21 a handful of chances to impress between now and the end of May. He might just surprise them.
AC Milan star Carlos Bacca finds himself eternally marooned on the fringes of world football’s striker elite but the Colombian international is a very dependable goalscorer, boasting a career return of 196 goals in 379 appearances from his spells in South America, Belgium, La Liga and now Serie A.
That includes 49 goals for former club Sevilla, helping fire them to consecutive Europa League titles, and eight league strikes for Rossoneri this season – who he joined at a cost of £22million during the summer.
Powerful, speedy, unorthodox in style and lethal in front of goal, the stock forward was mooted as a good fit for the Premier League before his San Siro switch and rumour has it Chelsea are now very interested in facilitating a move to England.
Bacca’s firepower would certainly improve Guus Hiddink’s attacking options but his £30million price tag seems a little steep for a 29-year-old.
It may seem slightly illogical making a loan signing to fill the void of a player who has left the club on loan – especially if they’ll only be available until the MLS season starts up again in March.
Nonetheless, Italy international Sebastian Giovinco is certainly worth the west London outfit’s consideration after making an absolute mockery of the American top flight throughout 2015.
Indeed, the 28-year-old recorded 22 goals and 16 assists in 33 league outings for FC Toronto last year, an incredible haul which saw him claim the MLS’ Golden Boot, Top Provider award, Newcomer of the Year award and MVP award.
Likewise, the versatile forward, who can operate as a striker, a winger or an attacking midfielder, boasts plenty of experience in European football from his spells with Empoli, Parma and Juventus – so he certainly won’t feel out of his of depth at Stamford Bridge.
As aforementioned, however, Giovinco would only be available for a few months until the MLS kicks off in March.
Saido Berahino’s miraculous fall from grace this season has certainly cast doubts over whether the West Bromwich Albion striker has what it takes to be successful at a top English club – most particularly in terms of attitude.
Regardless, there are still many positive attributes in the 22-year-old’s locker; he’s young, home-grown, versatile, sensationally quick and possesses a lethal eye for goal – netting 14 times in 38 appearances for the Baggies last season.
Furthermore, Tony Pulis seems more than happy to sell this month, having granted Berahino just eight Premier League starts this term and regularly venting his frustration at the Burundi-born striker’s head being turned by Tottenham Hotspur’s failed £25million bid last summer.
From Chelsea’s perspective, the former England U21 represents a long-term investment who could have an impact right away.
But widespread interest in Berahino is an issue, especially in regards to price-tag, with Newcastle United, Liverpool, Manchester United, Stoke City and Spurs all linked over the last few weeks.
Oumar Niasse appears to be one of the few strikers in top tier European football actually available this month, amid reports claiming the Lokomotiv Moscow star is determined to force through a move to the Premier League to be reunited with his Manchester-residing wife.
An exciting and emerging talent, the Senegal international joined the Moscow outfit only last season but has already lifted the Russian Premier League’s Player of the Year award after bagging twelve goals and ten assists in 21 appearances during 2015.
Blessed with power, height and explosive pace, the 25-year-old seems an ideal fit for Premier League football and perhaps more importantly, the sole striker slot in Chelsea’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
No doubt, Niasse is still a bit of a punt compared to some of the more established names on this list. But at a reported cost of just £15million, he seems worth the gamble.