Edin Dzeko was linked to Chelsea by multiple sources before the weekend and it looks as if Chelsea and Roma are close to agreeing a deal worth €50-60m for the Bosnian and teammate Emerson Palmieri. That may seem like a lot of money for a player in his early thirties, but if Chelsea want a proven goal-scorer both in European competition and the Premier League, Dzeko might be the perfect fit.
This deal also begs the question, why are Roma letting their star striker go in January whilst Champions League football is on the line? I happen to think it’s a perfect move for Chelsea and may also work in Roma’s favour in the long run, despite Dzeko’s importance to their team.
Since the summer, Antonio Conte has been looking for a prolific target man to bolster his attacking options and give his Chelsea team a ‘Plan B’ going forward. He wanted Fernando Llorente from Swansea, but was ultimately beaten on Deadline Day to the striker’s signature by Tottenham Hotspur. The Spaniard hasn’t exactly been prolific for Spurs, but his performance against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu shows how important a second option can be in big games.
This month, the reigning Premier League champions were linked with Andy Carroll and Peter Crouch, much to the amusement of fans on social media.
Top class, goal-scoring big men in Europe are a rarity, as being a target man is almost seen as a negative in today’s game. If Chelsea were to sign Dzeko, they would be getting much more than a target man, they’d be getting a ruthless finisher who can find the net from almost any angle and isn’t afraid to drop deep in a three-man-attack and bring his wingers into play.
Think about a deep-lying Dzeko up front for Chelsea, allowing Eden Hazard and Pedro to burst forward… it sounds incredible! It sounds perfect for Chelsea, and could be one of the signings of the window if they manage to get the deal done.
Whilst Stamford Bridge needs a striker like Dzeko to reignite its team, you have to wonder why Roma are so happy to let their star striker go at such a pivotal point in the season? It doesn’t make much sense until you take a step back and look at all the factors involved.
Without being too harsh on the Giallorossi, Roma aren’t exactly stacked when it comes to strikers. They’ve got Dzeko, Gregoire Defrel and Patrik Schick in their ranks and the ex-Sampdoria man is probably the real reason behind all of this.
Until this season, Schick was seen as one of the top young strikers in Serie A and had attracted interest from some top clubs across Europe. The club must feel that he is ready and able to become a lead striker, and must be investing a lot of their faith into him. He tried and failed to co-exist with Dzeko in the same line-up, so removing the veteran and making way for fresh blood makes perfect tactical sense.
Either they trust Schick to stay fit and start firing in front of goal or they go for the classic Monchi technique. All together, this Dzeko deal could bring in €60M for Roma, and Monchi could invest that cash in young talents for the future. That’s why in the long run this deal could work for Roma.
Doubling the original investment for a soon to be 32-year-old when you’ve got someone as talented as Schick waiting in the wings sounds like good business. It could work, but is ultimately a massive risk at a crucial stage of the season, as Roma simply cannot afford to miss out on a top four finish.