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Replacing the Irreplaceable


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After his phenomenal performance last night, it would seem like there is no better time to ask this question than right now. If this is to be Didier Drogba's last season at Chelsea (and I hope it isn't) then who can replace him? Who can we put our faith in or buy that can adequately replace Didier Drogba?

Of course the answer you would think of straight away is Torres but can we really put our high hopes on his back? Facts are that he has looked like a shadow of his former self since arriving. I really thought that it might have been a fitness issue and that a good pre season would result in him springing into life this season, that hasn't materialised. I honestly don't believe that he is capable anymore of producing the time of heroic display we saw from Didier last night. So if our 50 million pound man can't do it, then who can?

Daniel Sturridge would be another option, if we signed a decent right winger we could think about moving him into the centre of the attack. My concern with Sturridge would be his relative lack of experience, his sometimes poor decision making and the fact that he is doing so well on the right wing means it would leave a hole to fill over there.

So if we had to bring in a player who would it be? Given the way we play, with 1 striker I think it would need to be an all round quality player and not just a finisher. Perhaps with a big enough bid we could tempt Edinson Cavani away from Napoli, he would an adequate replacement imo.

However replacing Drogba might be the most difficult task AVB will face. Drogba wasn't supposed to be the main man, that was Shevchenko, then Anelka and then Torres but Drogba has usurped each of those during their time at the club and when the time comes and there is no more Drogba to rely on to pull you out of your difficult moment that is when you will appreciate just how great a player he has been for us, that is of course unless we can adequately replace the great man.

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I really hope DD stays but it seems ovbious that this will probably be his last season and Torres will be the man for the next few years. I think we bought Lukaku to replace Drogs for the long run, as u can see he's very much in the same mould but isn't the finished article yet of course. I'd like to see sturridge given a chance up top but he has been great so far where he is so i can't really see it.

Torres will be the main man simply because of his stature and price. Lukaku in the future i hope will be the next big Drog!

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I also hope that we can convince Didier to sign a contract extension. If Didier does leave though that would leave us a striker short (even more if Anelka and Kalou leave) so surely you would think we will sign another striker by the end of the Summer transfer window. I hope that signing will be bought with the intention of being, or at least challenging, for the main striking role. While the club will hope that Torres can produce, I really have strong doubts that he wont be able to produce.

Lukaku is probably the long term hope and a good one, he has all of the physical attributes of Drogba, just needs a bit of work on his technique. However for the next 2-4 years I'd say he isn't the man to lead the line, I'd also say neither is Torres.

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I can't see Torres here next season unless he suddenly ups his game.

In two games, Drogba has completely out-done and out-classed Torres' whole season in every department. His attitude is phenomenal - you saw him miss that chance when Mata put him through, but you knew he'd beat the shit out of another defender and score the next time. When Torres misses, you expect it - and then you don't expect him to pick himself up after it. Confidence (maybe even arrogance) is what separates the good from the brilliant, and that is what puts Drogba in the bracket above Torres at present. He might be getting older and his ability to consistently bully teams may have diminished, but when Drogba turns it on for half-an-hour, you have your game-winner.

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If Villas-Boas still plans to make us a dominating side, and I don't think that has changed, buying a Drogba-esque player or a player like Cavani wouldn't be the right option as both fit a counter-attacking side.

So it all depends on the way we wan't to play really and that makes this hard to discuss.

Didier is a one-man army, he's just special when in form.

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I can't see Torres here next season unless he suddenly ups his game.

In two games, Drogba has completely out-done and out-classed Torres' whole season in every department. His attitude is phenomenal - you saw him miss that chance when Mata put him through, but you knew he'd beat the shit out of another defender and score the next time. When Torres misses, you expect it - and then you don't expect him to pick himself up after it. Confidence (maybe even arrogance) is what separates the good from the brilliant, and that is what puts Drogba in the bracket above Torres at present. He might be getting older and his ability to consistently bully teams may have diminished, but when Drogba turns it on for half-an-hour, you have your game-winner.

Absolutely spot on. The differences last night between the two could not have been more pronounced. The image of Drogba firing the team up before the game was just another example of the warrior and leader he is, a complete contrast to Torres walking around with his head down, seemingly counting blades of grass.

I also agree that we will probably end up trying to sell him, he hasn't done it, he hasn't looked like consistently doing it and every excuse under the sun seems to have evaporated.

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If Villas-Boas still plans to make us a dominating side, and I don't think that has changed, buying a Drogba-esque player or a player like Cavani wouldn't be the right option as both fit a counter-attacking side.

So it all depends on the way we wan't to play really and that makes this hard to discuss.

Why do they only suit a counter attacking team though? I've seen Didier play in Chelsea teams that play on the front foot and prosper, same goes for Edinson Cavani for both Napoli and Uruguay.

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Absolutely spot on. The differences last night between the two could not have been more pronounced. The image of Drogba firing the team up before the game was just another example of the warrior and leader he is, a complete contrast to Torres walking around with his head down, seemingly counting blades of grass.

I also agree that we will probably end up trying to sell him, he hasn't done it, he hasn't looked like consistently doing it and every excuse under the sun seems to have evaporated.

I wholeheartedly agree. If Drogba has a bad game and his head isn't in it, his heart, at least, is. With Torres, you sense neither his heart or head is in the game.

The funny thing is that people still underestimate Drogba. If he scores just two more goals, he will overtake Peter Osgood and Roy Bentley to become our fourth-top goalscorer of all-time.

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I wholeheartedly agree. If Drogba has a bad game and his head isn't in it, his heart, at least, is. With Torres, you sense neither his heart or head is in the game.

I think that's always been the difference between the two, even if Didier is having a bad game, he has the ability to make something happen from nothing, Torres in his prime was a wonderful finisher but has never had the all round ability of Drogba, and now we have seen that he doesn't have the same fighting spirit as Drogba either.

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Why do they only suit a counter attacking team though? I've seen Didier play in Chelsea teams that play on the front foot and prosper, same goes for Edinson Cavani for both Napoli and Uruguay.

We've never been side that plays dominating possession football, mainly playing short passes, before Villas-Boas came (except for Scolari but Anelka was Scolari's main man for that approach).

The same Cavani at Napoli and Uruguay, both Napoli and Uruguay play anything but 'Total Football' or Barcelona football like it's called nowadays. Both Uruguay and Napoli sit deep and hit opponents on the counter-attack, except for when playing an inferior side of course.

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We've never been side that plays dominating possession football, playing a lot of short passes, before Villas-Boas came (except for Scolari but Anelka was Scolari's main man for that apprach).

The same Cavani at Napoli and Uruguay, both Napoli and Uruguay play anything but 'Total Football' or Barcelona football like it's called nowadays. Both Uruguay and Napoli sit deep and hit opponents on the counter-attack.

Under Ancelotti we were a side who tried to get the ball and play. Not exactly Barcelona stuff but by the same token it wasn't sitting on the edge of our penalty area type stuff either.

That is Napoli and Uruguay's main way of playing but both are adaptable and we have seen games against lesser sides where they have to bring the game to the opposition and Cavani is capable of doing that, he, like Drogba, has excellent movement and link up play.

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Under Ancelotti we were a side who tried to get the ball and play. Not exactly Barcelona stuff but by the same token it wasn't sitting on the edge of our penalty area type stuff either.

That is Napoli and Uruguay's main way of playing but both are adaptable and we have seen games against lesser sides where they have to bring the game to the opposition and Cavani is capable of doing that, he, like Drogba, has excellent movement and link up play.

Yeah but the focus of Villas-Boas' philosofy, total football, lies on keep the ball on the ground. It sounds a bit strange saying it like that but it's the truth. Power was still a very important factor under Ancelotti and we were never able of playing like that consistently.

Everybody is capable of dominating against inferior sides, even we did the same under Mourinho (the same for Mourinho's Inter). I'm not saying they're useless in a total football approach but definitely not the ideal men. Cavani's strengths can be found in his physical attributes but technically he's average (Cavani has never been able to really perform for Uruguay btw).

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Drogba has been a fantastic servant at the club, a wonderful striker and showed last night, he's still capable of rolling back the years and putting in stellar performances. The problem is I don't believe the club can justify giving him a 2 year contract on such large wages - he would be 36 by the end of it! I'm glad the club have stuck to their guns on this one only offering a one year extension and if Drogba rejects this then so be it.

The club will move on, simply because it has to. We will adapt our game accordingly to not having Drogba anymore. The same questions have been asked over the last couple of years of how are we ever going to replace Lampard. The answer is you will not find a replacement who will score the same amount of goals, but instead find an alternative which may benefit the team as a whole allowing others to spread those missing goals out between eachother.

You would hope that next season Lukaku is in a position to take over from Drogba as the physical battering ram focal point of the attack.

I believe then another striker may be purchased of a different type and style. There's no harm having 2 or 3 strikers with very different attributes because it can ask more questions of opposition defenders.

There's always the risk of buying a big name striker from abroad aswell - some come in and perform, and others bomb. Every English club has experienced it!

Attitude permitting I just wonder whether Tevez would be a decent bet for the next 2-3 years. He's shown at Man City he can lead an attack as the central lone striker, would give plenty of fight and energy, not to mention goals and creativity to the front line. The biggest sticking points are of course his attitude being a risk, and if Man City would sell him at a realistic price. Maybe a swap with Torres?

One thing is, given the signings of Romeu, Meireles and Mata, I fully trust AVB's judgement in the transfer market to rebuild our squad.

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I'm sorry but I disagree with everyone saying he should get a contract extension.

He put in a great shift last night. But it's time to go. He already said he'll honour his contract, maybe that's why he's bothering now.. His final hurrah. Only replacement I see as adequate, Edison Cavani. Yet I don't see him leaving Napoli any time soon.

Gonna be real hard to find someone like Drogba.

I don't think we should either. Villas-Boas' clearly wants to play a possession game, with the ball doing the work. We can't do that if we're playing with a target man too. It's why, an in-form, Torres would've been a delight for André. It's a shame Torres is long-gone figure now though. But it's that type of striker Chelsea should be looking for now.

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Maybe my expectations are too high, with Drogba being the main man at our club for so long it is possible that I expect too much. Some are saying we shouldn't buy another target man and I agree that I don't want an Andy Carroll or Peter Crouch leading the line and while Drogba is a target man, he has always had so much more to his game than just that. Though there aren't many of his kind in the world, I want an all round great player, not simply a finisher, an adequate replacement for Drogba should be a player who can create something from nothing, ala Drogba. That is the kind of player we should be looking at.

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