Football: Hiddink may sign more strikers to cover for Costa and Remy

Chelsea's Diego Costa shakes hands with manager Guus Hiddink after being substituted during the FA Cup match against Scunthorpe United.
Chelsea's Diego Costa shakes hands with manager Guus Hiddink after being substituted during the FA Cup match against Scunthorpe United.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (Guardian) - Guus Hiddink has admitted that Chelsea are short in terms of options up front and has made it clear that the club are considering a move for a striker this month.

With Radamel Falcao out with a thigh injury and Hiddink unable to put a time-frame on his return, the interim manager has only Diego Costa and the fit-again Loic Remy as established players to call upon.

Remy has been back in full training for two days after a calf problem, and he is expected to be in the squad for the visit of West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night.

Hiddink name-checked the 20-year-old Bertrand Traore, whom he brought on as a late substitute in Sunday's FA Cup win over Scunthorpe United, as a possible option but he said that Patrick Bamford , who has returned from a difficult loan spell at Crystal Palace, had "to prove himself first of all with the under-21s".

Hiddink talked about the need to have two quality players for every position and, when Costa and Remy are fit, the situation does not overly concern him. But it was obvious that Hiddink would prefer to sign somebody as cover.

"We are thinking," Hiddink said. "We have to have good competition, good double occupation in every position. When there is good shape and the double occupation is there, then we are OK but we must not go into this danger when something happens with one or two strikers. I don't deny that it would be a concern if Costa or Remy were injured.

"I am thinking. And it's not good talk when you are thinking in this case because, why shall we go public? If, suppose something is going on, it can be harmful when you go public. Theoretically; that's what I'm saying at the moment."

Roman Abramovich, the club's owner, was at Cobham on Monday and Tuesday, and watched Hiddink's squad train.

"I have good contact here with the technical board and others," Hiddink continued. "They are open to discuss all the options. That does not say it has to be done or it's done but it's open.

"People come here and watch training and have normal conversations. I like it very much when people in charge of this club are not just always having a message but are also coming to enjoy it, to see the training and have lunch or a cup of coffee with the players."

Chelsea have been linked with a host of strikers, including Saido Berahino, but, unsurprisingly, Hiddink was tight-lipped when the West Brom player's name came up. "The window opens and the mouth shuts," he said.

It was plain that Hiddink intends to rely on Remy, who has enjoyed a stop-start season, and that the France player would not be going anywhere this month - a clutch of clubs have made enquiries about him.

"Because we have this multitude of games, I hope Remy picks it up," Hiddink said. "I hope he will deliver if he is needed. It's short (the options up front), that's true. I hope they will stay fit.

"When we have Costa and him - that's why I hope Remy can make his next step and get even more fit. At the moment, no (Remy will not leave). He will stay until the end of the season."

Falcao, who is on loan from Monaco, last appeared on Oct 31 as a substitute against Liverpool. The Monaco vice-president, Vadim Vasilyev, has said the Colombian would be out for "six to eight weeks" and there appears to be no prospect not only of Falcao returning to Monaco this month but of him moving anywhere.

"It's not easy (to leave in January) if you are injured and a long-time injury," Hiddink said. "Everyone is intelligent and that's not a reason to get a player back. If he is declared fit, then it will take time to get him game fit. I don't know how long it will be in weeks. He is not on the (training) pitch so he is completely in the doctors' and physios' hands."

Hiddink reported that Costa (knee), Oscar (toe) and Nemanja Matic (mild concussion) would be fit for the West Brom game.