Is the ‘modern day centre forward’ now a rare breed in football?
Didier Drogba has arguably been the best centre forward of his generation, in terms of the Ivorian’s mould.
At the minute, very few that are similar in style currently exist. Without a doubt Diego Costa has come the closest in recent years, which is why Chelsea, 13/2 to win the Champions League with Coral, paid Atletico Madrid £32m for his services in the summer.
Joint-top with Sergio Aguero in the Premier League scoring charts, on 17 goals, it appears they made the right decision. Brazilian-born Spain striker Costa is very similar in style to Drogba, who the Blues also brought back to the club.
It could be argued that Olivier Giroud at Arsenal comes quite close, however seems to lack that killer instinct, insatiable hunger, and also footballing nastiness at the minute to rival the aforementioned duo. PSG’s Edinson Cavani could also be referred to in this sense.
In terms of physique, Jackson Martinez also comes close to being in that mould of centre forward, while a special mention also goes out to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, also at PSG, who seems to have a little bit of everything.
Martinez’s fellow Colombian, Radamel Falcao could, at one stage have been considered one of the very best in the world occupying this role, though it is fair to say that he is a shadow of his former self, on loan at Manchester United, struggling to recapture his form after a career-threatening knee injury.
Taking a look at possible candidates who could step into the ‘Drogba role’, on the books at Atletico Madrid, is a one Leo Baptistao, who has followed a similar path to Costa. Like the 26-year-old was, Baptistao is currently on loan at Rayo Vallecano, where he is being gradually groomed. Starting his career at Santos, he has the same kind of fighting spirit as the Blues frontman, having held off hepatitis.
Aged just 22, he is yet to fill out, though when he does, Baptistao has every chance of being just as prolific.
Bayer Leverkusen own Polish centre forward Arkadiusz Milik, and he is also showing signs that he can become a fully-fledged, handful of a centre forward. Like Baptistao, he is a talent that is currently on loan, to Ajax and both clubs have high hopes for the 20-year-old.
Again, yet to fully develop, Milik is going in the right direction and is clinical in front of goal. He also narrowly missed out on the Golden Boy award for 2014 to Raheem Sterling, an accolade given to the best young player in Europe, voted for by sports journalists.