FIFA have block the Ivorian from making a short term move to Chelsea in December, meaning a move makes less sense for the London club. With Benitez installed to help get the best from Torres, moves for the likes of Falcao and Cavani are also less likely, so should they target Damiao to back up the Spaniard instead?
As expected, FIFA have blocked Drogba's request to make a loan move outside the transfer window and the Ivorian will have to wait until January if he wants to join a club. As the African Cup of Nations starts on the 19th of January, Drogba will be of little use to any club he joins in the transfer window, making it less likely Chelsea or indeed Liverpool would be keen to take him on.
The situation at Stamford Bridge has changed in recent days anyway, with Benitez brought in presumably as a manager who has the ability to get the best out of Fernando Torres, rather than replace the misfiring Spaniard in January.
With that in mind, moves for other strikers like Falcao and Cavani also seem less likely, as they would be bought to replace Torres, rather than play as his deputy.
However Chelsea do still have a clear issue in getting goals, and will likely try and sign a striker in the New Year. With the other considerations in mind, perhaps Leandro Damiao is now the best option for the club.
Whilst clearly an excellent player, Damiao would not demand immediate starts in the way that Falcao would. As a young player moving to Europe, he would be happier with a period of adjustment, and could be used on conjunction with Torres, rather than as direct competition.
Damiao himself has said he would like to be reunited with former teammate Oscar, who has had such a successful start to the season. There is another factor in that Damiao's club, Internacional, have not qualified for next year's Copa Libertadores, perhaps making the striker more open to a move to Europe at this time.
It isn't yet established how the appointment of Benitez will affect Chelsea's striker hunt in January, but you can imagine that Torres is now more central to their long term plans than before.
With Drogba refused a loan until the New Year, he is less of an option for Chelsea, and Cavani and Falcao were surely earmarked as replacements for Torres. With that in mind, Damiao might be the best option for Chelsea to go for in January.
image: © simonw92