While the club’s supporters believe they need to make a splash, perhaps the Zambia star could be a cost-effective solution
Chelsea’s current standing as European champion puts the club in a position of strength to add real quality to their squad for next season and subsequent campaigns after.
The Blues’ 2012 Champions League triumph prompted a switch for Eden Hazard, a generational talent from Ligue 1 side Lille, which resulted in a series of honours for the West London outfit, including two Premier League titles and as many Europa League wins.
Having splurged on a plethora of consequential players last summer, a top four spot was imperative for the Stamford Bridge outfit in 2020/21 going into the off-season to bolster effectively.
Thomas Tuchel’s troops not only ended in the desired European spots, but they also even went one better with CL success, and there’s never a better time than building from a position of strength.
Erling Haaland’s name has done the rounds this week with strong reports indicating that Roman Abramovich is keen to splurge on Borussia Dortmund’s force of nature. Without a doubt, it’s hard to even question the club’s interest in the 20-year-old forward given his unquestionable ability and delivery.
Having said that, the Norwegian’s astronomical asking price, wage demands and commission fees could all undermine the London side’s ambitious pursuit of the frontman.
A move for ex-striker and Inter Milan’s best player, Romelu Lukaku, has been touted but the Serie A side are demanding a premium and the Belgium star reaffirming his commitment to the Nerazzurri recently complicates a potential transfer.
The top option remains Harry Kane, who is seemingly intent on departing North London before the start of next term. However, the difficulty of striking a deal with the uncompromising Daniel Levy and antipathy between the clubs suggest a transfer to the Bridge may be a long shot.
When your options appear to be limited to complicated targets, you’re left with three possibilities: break the bank for one of the trio, stick to what you have for another season or swoop for a left-field option.
No one typifies the latter more than Patson Daka, the 22-year-old Zambian whose burgeoning reputation has made him one of the hottest properties in Europe lately.
Chelsea supporters may not be enthused or excited at the prospect of settling for the Red Bull Salzburg man, but there’s a logic in acquiring the prolific striker.
His supreme prowess in front of goal bellies his youth, which has resulted in 51 Austrian Bundesliga goals in the last two seasons. A close inspection of Daka’s strikes demonstrates his amazing positioning which puts him on the receiving end of opportunities.
A large percentage of his goals are one-touch finishes following darts in behind, smartly positioning himself inside the six-yard box or cleverly creeping behind his marker before connecting to deliveries from out wide or through-balls.
The young marksman’s goal conversion (27 percent) is superior to Lukaku and Kane — 25 and 17 percent respectively — and is outdone by only Haaland’s 29 percent conversion rate. The breakdown of Daka’s goals — 16 right footed, seven with his left and four headed strikes — indicate he’s adept at finishing with both feet and a capable header of the ball.
In 2019/20, 11 of the Zambian’s 24-goal haul were scored with his supposedly weaker foot, indicating that the just-concluded campaign was not a one-off.
By contrast, the Dortmund wonderkid scored only two with his right foot in 20/21, the Englishman hit three left-footed goals, while Inter’s star netted a fairly improved six of his 16 strikes with his right foot.
Aside from his poaching instincts, the Zambia forward puts in the hard yards off the ball which suits Tuchel’s style out of possession.
In European competition last term, Daka outdid Kane and Lukaku for pressures in the attacking third of the pitch per 90, with only Haaland outperforming the African.
Interestingly, only the England forward averaged more pressures in the middle third than the Salzburg man, but the 22-year-old averaged significantly higher pressures than the aforementioned three forwards in his defensive third of the pitch.
Admittedly, there are always reservations over a player cutting the mustard or otherwise after a big move to one of Europe’s top five leagues.
If Chelsea opt for Daka, it won’t be lost on anyone that the forward will have assumedly skipped an unwritten step in his development.
This often sees players leave Salzburg to join their sister club RB Leipzig or another decent-to-good side in Europe, before making a big transfer to a destination club.
There’s a feeling among blues supporters that their club needs a marquee signing to fill the void of a reliable centre-forward capable of hitting double figures.
Daka is neither a household name nor a sure thing, but his age, talent and profile indicate he could be the fitting solution that equally promotes healthy team building in West London.