By Michael Yokhin
With one £50 million striker already amongst their ranks, Demba Ba opening his account with a brace on Saturday and a supporting cast that boasts the likes of Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, it would come as surprise that Chelsea are targeting another attacking talent to add to their ever expanding Brazilian enclave in the shape of Taison.
Unlike David Luiz and Ramires who forged their reputations in the relatively high-profile Portuguese league, and were already full Brazil internationals before they moved to Stamford Bridge, Taison has taken a different route to potential stardom.
The former Internacional starlet started making a name for himself in 2009, finding the net 15 times in 18 games in Campeonato Gaucho, the Rio Grande state league, outscoring more prominent teammate Nilmar.
Taison was also crowned the top scorer of Copa do Brasil with seven goals as Inter reached the final, and was part of the team that finished second in the most important competition of them all, Campeonato Brasileiro.
In 2010 he helped his club to win Copa Libertadores for the second time in its history, but the final of Campeonato Gaucho was lost to fierce local rivals Gremio, while Taison himself was sent off for a violent tackle on Jonas, now at Valencia, that prompted a mass brawl in which he lived up to his nickname of Mike Tyson – like many Brazilians he is as temperamental as he is talented.
The path from Brazil to Ukraine is one that is increasingly being trodden by stars from South America and in 2010 Taison opted to follow the likes of Jadson, Willian and Luis Adriano by moving to eastern Europe and joining Metalist Kharkiv.
| CHELSEA LATEST
|4/9||Chelsea are 4/9 to win the Capital One Cup with William Hill
The club's owner Oleksandr Yaroslavskiy, a local businessman whose dedication, resources and long-term development programme turned the club into a serious force to be reckoned with, as they officially became the third team in Ukraine, finishing behind Shakhtar and Dynamo Kyiv every season since 2007.
Metalist utilised their extensive scouting network in South America by signing Cleiton Xavier from Palmeiras and brilliant Argentine defender Cristian Villagra from River Plate. More Latin talent subsequently joined to form the basis of an exciting side who reached the Europa League quarter-finals last season.
Taison was an instant hit - his first season in Ukraine was actually his most successful - with eight goals and 10 assists in the league, the Brazilian was one of the best players in Ukraine, stunning everyone with his wide range of skills.
Taison would suit the recent Chelsea trend of signing extremely versatile attacking players like Mata, Hazard and Victor Moses. The Brazilian feels comfortable on either wing, enjoys being fielded as a playmaker and can also work effectively behind a main striker.
He possesses a fierce shot, as evidenced by his stunning Van Basten-esque strike against Rosenborg in the Europa League this season. The Brazilian can indeed score from almost any range, but he is also quick, bold and has sublime technical skills – witness his mazy run from inside his own half to score against Sochaux last season.
Such brilliance can sometimes lead to overconfidence, and Taison is frequently guilty of trying to perform one trick too many. His attitude can suffer, and Myron Markevych, the long-serving Metalist coach, warned last season: "Taison should change his attitude and understand that there is a strong competition for places in our midfield."
Indeed, after the brilliant 2010-11 season, the Brazilian scored just twice in the league in 2011-12, and has added just three goals this term. After five European goals last season, he only added that wonderstrike versus the Norwegians this autumn.
With Yaroslavskiy having left Metalist a few weeks ago after a huge rift with Kharkiv local authorities and the club’s future less certain, Taison could justifiably feel the time is right to move on to avoid his career stagnating.
His addition could be a great boost to Chelsea, and Oscar would dearly love to renew the brief partnership from the beginning of 2010 at Internacional. If he manages to keep the right attitude, Taison could even force his way into Felipe Scolari’s plans ahead of 2014 World Cup.