A new name has popped up on the list of strikers Chelsea might be trying to sign to partner (or act as back-up) to Diego Costa. This time it’s Nigeria’s World Cup star Emmanuel Emmenike, who currently plays for Turkish side Fenerbahce and would reportedly be available for some £16 million. The Nigerian has helped Nigeria who 2014 world cup odds never favored to get into the second round of the world cup.
It would be an intriguing choice – but possibly not for the right reasons. Emmenike has played reasonably well in Brazil without yet hitting the headlines. His time in European club football has been chequered, to say the least. In his first spell with the Turkish club, he failed to make a single appearance before being arrested on suspicion of match-fixing. He was finally acquitted because of a lack of any evidence against him after a two-year judicial investigation – but by then, he’d been offloaded to Spartak Moscow.
His two years in Russia produced nothing special – apart from a controversial red card for a goalscoring celebration which appeared to imply that the opposing team were heroin addicts – and he went back to Fenerbahce last summer. It was a successful return – he helped the club to the Turkish title with 12 goals in 28 games.
While not the tallest striker in the game, he is strong and powerful and at 27 is probably at the peak of his powers. The Turkish newspaper Fanatik claims that Chelsea have already made a bid for him, and the player is quoted as saying: “I have always dreamed of playing in England. If I get the opportunity to play in England, I wouldn’t turn it down.” Mind you, he also said that it was a dream to play for Fenerbahce when he returned to the club last summer, so either he has a multitude of conflicting night-time experiences or it might not be too wise to rely on the authenticity of where he says he longs to be.
Chelsea do need new strikers, as Jose Mourinho seems unhappy with the ones he had at his disposal last season. Samual Eto’o – probably the most prolific of those – has already gone, and the reports of Demba Ba joining Besiktas refuse to go away. That would leave Costa and Fernando Torres (who, by the way, appears to be determined to stay, even if it means playing second fiddle to his Spanish team-mate).
There would certainly be an opening for a third striker, and it would have to be a player who was prepared to fight for a first-team place and not sulk on the bench. But whether Emmenike really is that player is open to doubt.
It will, howver, be interesting to see how well he fares in the knockout stages in Brazil. A good performance or two there may well swing the balance in his favour.