Chelsea target another striker to ease burden on misfiring Fernando Torres

Falcao, Bony and returns for Lukaku and Drogba among January options

Chelsea are planning to bring in or sign another striker in January with new manager Rafael Benitez of the view that they simply cannot place the burden on Fernando Torres to score their goals and play every game to the end of the season.

The club have not ruled out bringing Romelu Lukaku from his loan spell at West Bromwich Albion, where he has scored five Premier League goals this season, one more than Torres, but there is a feeling that the Belgium international’s development would be best served by seeing out his season there.

Lukaku, 19, has made significant steps at West Brom but the club believe that they may need a more experienced player to see them through the final five months. Much will also depend on whether they beat the odds and get through to the Champions League knockout stages next week.

While Torres’s goalscoring form has been poor – he has just four league goals in 14 games – Benitez is not prepared to play him in every game, especially given the fixture pressure on the club. Providing they win their semi-final in the Club World Cup and their third round FA Cup tie, Chelsea will play 17 games in the next two months, starting with the trip to West Ham United on Saturday.

The Colombia international Radamel Falcao is the primary long-term target but he would take a monumental investment to sign in January with a €60m release clause in his Atletico Madrid contract. .

Benitez and Chelsea may look at a more short-term option than Falcao, especially if they are only competing in the Europa League come January. The club have looked at Wilfried Bony, 23, the Ivorian who plays for Vitesse Arnhem, a club with whom they have a close relationship. Three Chelsea players – Patrick Van Aanholt, Gaël Kakuta and Tomas Kalas – are currently on loan at the club. Bony has scored 15 goals already for Vitesse this season and is the leading goalscorer in the Eredivisie. That he will be playing at the African Nations for most of January means that he is unlikely to be the quick fix required.

They have explored the possibility of bringing Didier Drogba back on loan from Shanghai Shensua but it is fraught with problems. He is playing for the Ivory Coast in the African Nations and the Chinese Super League season clubs begin pre-season training in February.

Nevertheless, the striker has retained close links with senior officials at the club and was back at Stamford Bridge earlier in the month for the games against Shakhtar Donetsk and Liverpool. A move for Drogba was a consideration before the appointment of Benitez but there was friction between the two when the latter was Liverpool manager.

Another option is the Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente, who is a free agent at the end of the season. He is expected to go to Juventus in the next transfer window but at the relatively low price of €7m he remains an option for the second half of the season.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn