It’s no secret that finding the back of the net is the hardest part of football, so when a wonderkid who scores goals in his sleep becomes available, every big club in Europe sits up and takes notice.
Erling Haaland has already amassed a staggering 126 career goals despite still being just 20 years of age, with his growing list of admirers leaving Borussia Dortmund with a huge decision to make.
Haaland’s current deal with Der BVB contains a release clause of just €75m (£64m) which will become active next summer, however, 90min exclusively revealed recently that Chelsea are keen to avoid the inevitably protracted transfer saga and are prepared to offer up to £150m for the Norwegian hitman.
Sounds like an absolute no-brainer, right?
Dortmund would essentially receive roughly £86m just to be without Haaland for one extra season, knowing fine well he’ll be heading for the exit door next summer anyway.
Whether a deal can be thrashed out remains to be seen, but for those of you who aren’t overly familiar with Haaland’s prodigious talents, a team being willing to pay £86m for one season of his services probably tells you everything you need to know.
So, we’ve established Dortmund would be mad to turn the offer down and that Chelsea are clearly keen to secure his signature, but would his arrival at Stamford Bridge this summer make them favourites for the Premier League title?
Thomas Tuchel’s arrival in west London last January completely transformed Chelsea’s campaign – which up until that point looked like resulting in a mid-table finish by the way – with the Blues somehow securing a top-four finish and then going on to win the Champions League.
Undoubtedly, the foundations of Chelsea’s stellar second half of the season were built on their rigid backline, with the Blues conceding just two goals in Tuchel’s first 14 games in charge.
Only Premier League winners City conceded fewer than the Blues’ 36 league goals last season, though their measly tally of 58 scored was even surpassed by ninth-placed Leeds.
Haaland will definitely help them add to that tally, but signing a prolific goalscorer doesn’t mean they’ll automatically become the best side in the league.
Harry Kane won the Premier League’s golden boot last season yet Tottenham couldn’t even make it into the Europa League, while on the flip side not a single of champions Manchester City’s strikers made it into double figures in terms of league goals.
A player like Haaland needs to be central to a team’s style of play, but having a player who your entire setup is based around could see the goals from other areas of Chelsea’s team dry up and ultimately be a hindrance.
Obviously, there’s also the issue of how much the Blues’ competitors will strengthen this summer.
While Tuchel did superbly to notch a top-four finish for his side last season, the standard of last season’s Premier League teams was nowhere near the level we’ve come to expect, and with both Manchester clubs seemingly intent on strengthening their squads this summer, the signing of Haaland is unlikely to be enough to make the Blues outright favourites for the title.
Chelsea have done a decent job of killing off the careers of some fantastic strikers over the past few decades, but in all honesty it’s hard to imagine even them turning Haaland into a misfiring frontman.
The 20-year-old’s strength, technique and eye for goal means he’d likely be able to slot into just about any starting XI in Europe, but his arrival doesn’t make Chelsea favourites for the Premier League.
Depending on who else they bring into the club and how well their rivals do in the transfer market, they could have a say in next season’s title race – but it’s going to take more than one signing to give them that prestigious tag.