Eden Hazard claims Chelsea do not need to buy a new striker and has questioned the idea of adopting a more direct tactical approach this season.
Antonio Conte’s admission that he would like a forward who can be “a point of reference” has led to speculation over a number of surprise targets in the January transfer window.
Stoke City’s Peter Crouch, West Ham’s Andy Carroll and Burnley’s Ashley Barnes are among the players to be linked with a move to Stamford Bridge, although reports on Sunday suggest a deal for Roma’s Edin Dzeko could be finalised in the coming days.
Hazard, however, does not think to bring in a physically imposing centre-forward will necessarily make the Premier League champions any more effective in attack.
Speaking after his side’s 4-0 win at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, he said: “Who is the best team this year? Manchester City. The strikers, [Gabriel] Jesus and [Sergio] Aguero, are not big.
“It’s simple. It depends how you want to play. If you want to play with long balls you need a target man, if you want to keep the ball on the floor you need a small guy. It depends how you want to play.
2 – Antonio Conte has dropped only two points from 27 available in Premier League matches against newly promoted sides (P9 W8 D1 L0), a 1-1 draw with Burnley last season. Initiation. pic.twitter.com/Xdz3gUpd26
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 20, 2018
“Football is simple: keep the ball on the ground and try [to play] like we did. I think we have two very good strikers in Alvaro [Morata] and Michy [Batshuayi]. If they are not ready to play I can play striker, so I don’t think we need [another one].
“Because we are missing chances people are saying we need another striker, but if we are scoring goals we are the best attack in the league and no one can say we need a striker. It depends on the form of the team and I think we’re happy with the team we have.”
Hazard’s own future has come under scrutiny since his father Thierry gave an interview in December in which he claimed his son was putting off talks over a new Chelsea contract in order to wait for an offer from Real Madrid.
The 27-year-old says he spoke to his father in the wake of the comments and again stressed he is happy at Stamford Bridge.
“My dad says some bad things,” Hazard quipped. “I talked with him, no worries. I’m focused with Chelsea. I’ve got two years contract left and I’m happy here.
“Like I said 10 times before, I want to finish this year and then we’ll see. But I’m happy here.”