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Diego Costa’s three-year spell at Chelsea came to an end this summer with the striker choosing to go back to Atletico Madrid, the club from where he came to England. Costa brought two Premier League titles, 59 goals and countless controversies before leaving Stamford Bridge.
The pertinent question that concerned was who Chelsea should bring in to replace the big-boots of Costa. It appeared as if Romelu Lukaku was heading back to Stamford Bridge but Jose Mourinho stole in and tempted the Belgian to Manchester United instead.
Alvaro Morata was signed instead and since his arrival, Morata has done extremely well, slotting in well in the position vacated by Costa, scoring 8 league goals in 12 games this season.
However, many reports suggested Torino striker Andrea Belotti was wanted by Conte in the summer as the Blues failed to lure him away to Stamford Bridge, after reportedly seeing an offer of £63million get rejected. Now that Conte has got Morata, who is looking like a fantastic bit of business, does he further need Belotti in January?
The Torino striker would not come cheap as his buyout clause is at €100m. However, club President Urbano Cairo recently revealed that he discussed Belotti with his Real Madrid counterpart Florentino Perez, who appeared interested when he learnt of the player’s value.
The Italian was playing in Serie B as recently as 2013/14, and then spent the following season watching Paulo Dybala and Franco Vazquez fire Palermo to a comfortable mid-table finish in the top flight. Fast forward another couple of years and the world has been turned upside down by the man known as Il Gallo (The Rooster).
Belotti has exploded into life, capturing the attention of fans and clubs across Europe last season by scoring 28 goals for Torino last season, thus guiding the club to a ninth-place finish. His sudden rise from obscurity was boosted with a call-up to the Italian national team and he scored 3 times in his first 5 games.
The 23-year-old possesses many of the characteristics associated with a traditional English league centre-forward; although he stands at less than 6ft, the 23-year-old is quick, aggressive, strong in the air and is excellent at holding up the ball. His work rate is excellent, which was especially important in his early days when the goals weren’t flowing as they are now.
For his robust style and lethal finishing, Belotti has been often compared to former Inter great Christian Vieri by several people within Italian football. What stands out for the striker is his ability to shrug off defenders with his strength and then arrive at a fantastic position to score goals. He can simply be termed as a terrific all-rounder who thrives in multiple areas of the centre-forward game.
The Italian made his comeback after a month of being out through injury and Torino got back to winning ways, coming from behind to beat Cagliari 2-1. However, Belotti was reduced to tears after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years. Four-time champions Italy finished second in their World Cup qualifying group behind Spain and then were beaten by Sweden in the playoff, 1-0 on aggregate.
Back to Belotti, if the opportunity arrives in January, although it looks bleak, Conte should go for the Italian, who has the world at his feet and could well become even more prolific playing with the likes of Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Morata. The healthy competition will also help Morata, which in turn can aid the Blues to retain their title and win more in the years to come.