Why Chelsea must be relentless in pursuit of Borussia Dortmund ace
Antonio Conte could be set to get his credit card out again in January, with Chelsea struggling to score against the league’s top sides. That failing has turned the Italian’s eye to Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang – a player with all the attributes to make the Blues title challengers.
While Diego Costa has been banging the goals in this season, the fiery forward is essentially having to carry the weight alone.
Having endured a run of one goal in 13 games during last season, he can’t be expected to maintain his current hot streak forever.
And the Blues are fairly short on other reliable striking options. Michy Batshuayi has scored just once in five Premier League games, while the only other recognised striker – Dominic Solanke – struggled to make his mark up front for Eredivisie side Vitesse Arnhem last season.
So, Chelsea are in need of a new frontman. But is Aubameyang the right man?
All the stats suggest he is. The Gabon international’s strike rate speaks for itself, with 39 goals in 49 games last season. And he’s produced the goods against truly top sides, netting against Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen, as well as scoring three in two games against Tottenham.
That success against English opposition shows the BvB man can handle the tempo and physicality of the Premier League, and he’s also an invaluable provider.
Last season saw the 27-year-old produce 12 assists for Thomas Tuchel’s men – more than any player at Stamford Bridge managed during the campaign.
With Eden Hazard and Pedro both on a solitary assist for the season, now could be the time for Conte to switch to playing two up front – with Costa likely to get better distribution from the Gabonese hitman, who boasts an impressive 78 per cent passing accuracy this season.
Extremely pacy and difficult to knock off the ball, he can also be relied on to track back and help the defence, and has none of the disciplinary risks of Costa or Batshuayi – having never been sent off in his career.
For now though, Chelsea will have to make do without the Dortmund ace as they welcome Leicester City to west London, with 4/7 for the hosts to chalk up back-to-back wins.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing