Creating at will but struggling to score
Chelsea are in dire need of a lethal striker, that much is clear. The Blues clinched their second-ever UEFA Champions League trophy in May but they are looking to mount a serious title challenge in the Premier League next term. Despite creating the most chances in the UEFA Champions League, Chelsea missed the most big chances by any team in the competition. They also rank third for big chances missed in the English Premier League.
Chelsea secured the signings of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, and Hakim Ziyech under former boss Frank Lampard. The trio have since failed to justify their price tags with a combined 26 goal contributions in 85 premier league appearances last season. Kai Havertz showed glimpses of what is perhaps to come late on in the season. He would go on to score Chelsea’s winning goal in the UEFA Champions League final. Timo Werner missed 18 big chances in the EPL. The most by any other Chelsea player last term. Tammy Abraham is not a Thomas Tuchel favorite. Chelsea are in the market for a world-class striker to bolster their title aims next term.
Who are the targets?
The blues have been linked with several strikers this summer. Southampton’s Danny Ings, Stuttgart’s Sasa Kalajdzic, Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski, Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku, and Borussia Dortmund wonder-kid Erling Haaland have all been mentioned. Lukaku and Haaland have emerged as the main targets for the blues. However, any deal for either of the players would prove tricky as their clubs have refused to sell this summer.
Although earmarked as a backup plan, reports suggest Chelsea have had a £102M bid for Romelu Lukaku turned down. Lukaku left Chelsea permanently in July 2014. He joined Everton for around £28M after impressing on loan at Goodison Park. The 28-year-old striker then moved to Manchester United for £76M three years later before making the switch to Italy in the summer of 2019. The Belgian marksman netted 30 goals in 44 games in all competitions for Inter Milan throughout the 2020/21 campaign. He finished as top scorer and also raced to the league title in a superb season.
Inter Milan are in a financial crisis and they need to sell, but not Lukaku they say. After Achraf Hakimi’s move to PSG for a reported €71M, Inter are reluctant to release any more players. The Italian club’s chief executive, Beppe Marotta spoke to the Mediaset earlier this month and said, “Romelu Lukaku is untouchable for us this summer. He’s a key player for Inter.” Lukaku has also reiterated his desire to remain in Italy this season.
The main target remains Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland. The Norwegian wonder-kid netted 40 times in 42 outings for Der BVB last season. He finished as runner-up to Robert Lewandowski in the race for league top-scorer. The Norwegian forward is the most lethal finisher of any player his age. As per Angelo Mangiante, “Haaland is not mission impossible and remains the Blues main summer goal”. However, any deal for the striker would prove tricky. The financial impact of that deal plus agent fees, parental payment, sign-on fees, add-ons, and wage package is a serious financial undertaking for any club. Even Chelsea with the backing of Roman Abramovich.
He has a release clause of £68M which becomes active in 2022 and that is smart to pursue. The blues however need a striker this summer and believe they need to secure his signature this summer. They would have to fend off interest from Europe’s biggest clubs next summer. Florentino Perez and Real Madrid have been docile this summer, expect them to come alive when that clause comes into play. Bayern Munich will be searching for a Robert Lewandowski heir. Juventus, PSG, and Barcelona are not ruled out too. Dortmund insist their star striker is not for sale unless a crazy bid arrives. It is believed that a bid of £130M would be enough to make the Germans rethink their stance.
Chelsea desperately need a pure striker
Chelsea are desperate to secure the signing of the Dortmund ace but Dortmund do not want to sell this summer. They insist the striker will have at least one more season at the Signal Iduna Park. However, if the blues are to stand any chance to sign the player, a bid potentially rising to £150M would not be turned down. Sources say Blues owner Roman Abrahimovich has sanctioned the deal. Whether Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund can agree on a deal remains to be seen. The Athletic claim Chelsea have already made a second bid for Lukaku and that will be rejected as well.
Chelsea recently played Arsenal in a preseason friendly and it was more evidence of why Chelsea continue to pursue a striker. The blues, particularly Timo Werner (as usual) and Tammy Abraham spurned chances to give Chelsea a healthy lead. Timo Werner scored 6 English Premier League goals and missed 18 big chances last term. Kai Havertz scored 4 and missed 9 big chances. Chelsea need a striker to fire in all these big chances they keep missing. The disparity between their expected goals and actual goals shows they need a striker.