Around about the time Manchester United won their fabled treble in 1999, the idea that having four quality strikers was a prerequisite for a side chasing titles on every front became common currency.
So why has Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho overseen the sale of all four senior strikers who were on the books in 2013/14 in Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o, Demba Ba and then-Everton loanee Romelu Lukaku, replacing them with a mere three, one of whom is aged 36?
Because, quite apart from the fact that a solitary centre-forward is the norm these days, the three men in question, Diego Costa, Loic Remy and Didier Drogba, were a good deal more prolific than the quartet they replace last term, despite their reduced number.
Mourinho’s new trinity are 7/10, and a double dose of even money to find the onion bag when Swansea bound off the team coach on the King’s Road in the sides’ fourth game of the campaign.
The aforementioned outgoing foursome mustered 29 league goals between them in their final full season as Chelsea-registered marksmen.
It’s a number that was trumped in no small fashion by the new-look striker’s union.
Diego Costa (27) fell just two strikes short of that total under his own steam in La Liga, but Remy and Drogba also contributed manfully, netting 14 and ten times respectively in the realms of their domestic meat and drink.
But the new boys played more football in 2013/14 you say?
That would be correct, but Costa’s goals per 90 minutes ratio of a strike every 0.82 helpings still dwarfs anything the old guard could turn out, with the criminally underrated Ba best of those deemed surplus to requirements with 0.67 strikes per regulation match time.
Second-string musketeer Remy, meanwhile, authored his previous campaign’s haul at a ratio of 0.62 an outing, despite often being stationed on the wing and playing for a Newcastle side who seemed to draw stumps as soon as safety had been secured at the turn of the year.
Even Drogba, the supposedly-creaking longbeard who can remember the last time Chelsea won the league under Mourinho, beat the keeper on 0.5 goals per 90 minutes, a total far superior to that of Torres (0.28) and not far behind Lukaku (0.55)in Super Lig action for Galatasaray last term.
A fine third musketeer if ever there was one.