Chelsea’s search for a striker continues

Gonzalo Higuain’s brief stint at AC Milan has proven that the Rossoneri’s attempted resurgence towards the upper echelons of Italian football isn’t going to be all smooth sailing.

Higuain made the switch from Juventus on loan during the summer transfer window last year when it was clear he would be playing second fiddle to incoming Cristiano Ronaldo at the Turin giants.

The Argentine’s career has been nothing short of prolific, both in terms of club honours as well his goalscoring record. From River Plate to Real Madrid, Napoli and Juventus, Higuain has consistently delivered in front of goal regardless of country or the colour of his shirt.

It’s been pretty much business as usual at Milan this season as well. Aside from a couple of injury concerns Higuain has looked sharp in front of goal. But unfortunately lacklustre team performances behind him have limited goalscoring opportunities for the Argentine, at least compared to what he’s been used to before.

Whatever his reasons for wanting away from Milan, life in West London isn’t necessarily going to be any easier.

Since Roman Abramovich took over the ownership of the club in 2003 Chelsea have had a colourful track record when it comes to strikers. The Blues have had some stellar names on their roster when it comes to forward men over the years, and Higuain is only the latest in a long list of players to pull on the Chelsea shirt in that position.

Higuain has scored an incredible 290 goals in 578 appearances over 16 seasons in club football. That averages out to 0.5 goals a game, an impressive record considering he’s been plying his trade in La Liga and Serie A for the majority of his career.

Moving to England will represent a new challenge for Higuain, and Chelsea will be hoping his goals can help propel them to a top four finish in the Premier League this season. The bookies are still backing the Blues to finish in a Champions League spot – to compare betting sites across a number of betting sites ahead of a bet on Chelsea visit BookiesBonuses.com. With Manchester United have picking up pace in the league they’ve got their eyes firmly fixed on Chelsea’s fourth spot.

Unfortunately for Higuain, he has the tide of history against him at Chelsea. There have been a string of promising strikers that have arrived at Stamford Bridge and the majority have simply failed to deliver. Only two players have lived up to expectations over recent years.

The fact remains that the majority of Chelsea forwards have been flops. Over the past seven previous seasons only Diego Costa has consistently topped the club’s goalscoring chart in his time at the London club. Costa finished as top goalscorer for three consecutive seasons between 2014 and 2017 before he departed for Atlético Madrid last year.

Fernando Torres only managed the feat of top goalscorer at Chelsea once in his four year stint at the club. Chelsea have otherwise relied on midfield playmakers to make up the numbers. This comes in stark contrast to a club like Manchester City whose main striker Sergio Aguero has consistently stayed around the 30 goals a season mark for the Sky Blues for the last five consecutive seasons.

Since club legend Didier Drogba brought an end to his first phenomenal stint at the club in 2012, Chelsea have let an incredible array of striking talent slip through their fingers.

Most recently they allowed want-away leading frontman Diego Costa pack his bags for sunny Spain, despite him being the most prolific goalscorer the club has had since Drogba. If that wasn’t bad enough, they’ve squandered the services of big name signings such as the likes of Radamel Falcao, Alexandre Pato and Samuel Eto’o in recent years.

While it might be true that those players were past their prime in some respects the same cannot be said of Romelu Lukaku or Mohamed Salah who the Blues once had on their books. They’ve both since become prolific goalscorers for Premier League rivals Manchester United and Liverpool just last season.

Higuain at 31 years of age moving to Chelsea represents yet another attempt at a quick fix. There may be a number of possible reasons for Higuain’s move, but it looks like yet another case of a manager playing favourites.

Maurizio Sarri worked with Higuain at Napoli where he netted 36 goals in 35 games. It’s understandable that Sarri would look to a familiar face in that department, and admittedly departing Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata has had a less than noteworthy time at Stamford Bridge.

But what is the long term plan at Chelsea? Olivier Giroud is 32 years old, Higuain is getting no younger and Morata at 26 represents a player who might be able to find his goalscoring feet given more time and nurturing.

With free betting tips and match previews it’s easy to follow both Chelsea and Higuain’s progress through the Premier League this season. Higuain is without a doubt one of the world’s foremost strikers, and he could go a long way to saving Chelsea’s season. But if Chelsea are to continue to compete they’ll need to look to the future instead of quick fixes.