January Transfer: Chelsea have identified Morata’s backup, Batshuayi could leave

In one of the Premier League’s more unexpected transfer window rumours, reports have emerged today suggesting that Chelsea are set to make a move for West Ham United’s Andy Carroll.

The 28-year old forward scored his first two goals of the season as recently as Tuesday night, and, on some primeval level perhaps, Antonio Conte wishes to become the latest manager willing to explore the “Carroll option.”

In a Chelsea side composed of majestically gifted footballers, the 6 ft 4 in Carroll would offer an injection of height and power that few had really considered to be of great importance to Conte.

Reportedly set to fill a covering role for the otherwise ever-present Alvaro Morata, a less-demanding role could arguably allow Carroll extract greater returns from lower expectations.

Yet, writing of the West Ham forward before England embarked upon their disastrous Euro 2016 campaign, Barney Ronay described the growing disenchantment with the idea of a “big man” to throw in when all else fails:

If plan A fails, well, just junk it all and adopt a completely different set of direct football tactics for about 10 minutes at the end.

The best teams don’t do this. They have belief in a set of tactics, and reinforce or vary it from the bench.

With the departure of Diego Costa in the summer, Chelsea undoubtedly lost an element of physicality (or menace) that had made their procession to the title appear relatively straight-forward.

While the arrival of Morata has certainly brought goals, Conte scarcely appears to trust his only natural replacement at the moment, Michy Batshuayi – reports similarly circling that the Belgian has free reign to depart Stamford Bridge at his earliest convenience.

Should the former Newcastle United and Liverpool man find himself a Chelsea player before the January window closes, it would certainly signify a prospective turnaround for a player of whom so much was expected when he joined the Reds in 2011.

Akin perhaps to Joe Hart’s loan spell at Torino, or Jonathan Woodgate joining Real Madrid, the idea of Carroll playing for Chelsea possesses a touch of the exotic that makes it, despite these early rumours, the most exciting speculative move of the window.

Meanwhile, David Moyes says he has “no idea” if Premier League champions Chelsea are chasing a deal for West Ham striker Andy Carroll.

“[I have] no idea,” Moyes said. “So I can’t tell you one way or the other.”

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