Hiddink keen on cover for strike duo

LONDON • 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.

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 the Dutchman would prefer to sign somebody as cover.

"We are thinking," he said ahead of yesterday's Premier League home clash with West Bromwich Albion. "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."

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 - despite a clutch of clubs having made inquiries about him.

"Because we have this multitude of games, I hope Remy picks it up," he said. "I hope he will deliver if he is needed... He will stay until the end of the season."

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.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani has also been tipped to make a move to Stamford Bridge or Arsenal for months.

And the Uruguay international looks to be edging towards the exit doors after PSG manager Laurent Blanc admitted on Tuesday that a "behavioural problem" concerning Cavani had been discussed during a team meeting at their recent training camp in Doha.

Cavani, who has scored 13 goals in 24 appearances for PSG this season, is said to be unhappy at being played out wide rather than his preferred central role, faced with competition from Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

"The desires of the individual can't affect the rest of the team," Blanc said. "I believe that he can score here but I understand if he wants to consider other career opportunities."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2016, with the headline 'Hiddink keen on cover for strike duo'. Print Edition | Subscribe