Chelsea's puzzle: Spend £150m on Haaland now or risk losing him
Borussia Dortmund may be eager to prevent Erling Haaland from departing in the summer, but big-spending Chelsea could be ready to test their resolve.
Every major European club seems interested in the prolific Haaland, but the Blues appear the front runners.
Haaland, who netted 27 goals in 27 Bundesliga starts in the 2020/21 campaign, joined Dortmund from RB Salzburg in January 2020 thanks to his prolific form, which has continued in Germany.
Manchester City are said to be interested, but with Harry Kane available they are likely to pursue the Tottenham man, leaving the door open for Chelsea to strike.
The one major hurdle for the Blues is that Dortmund are thought to be demanding £150 million for the forward. Furthermore, it's believed agent Mino Raiola would demand Haaland earn at least £300,000 a week, which would see him become Chelsea's highest earner.
But would a deal for Haaland this summer make sense?
Yes - Lack of competition
With most clubs still struggling from the effects of COVID-19, Chelsea appear to be one of only a handful of team that can feasible afford Haaland now.
Therefore, they may be able to sign him relatively unchallenged - and for a player of his quality, that could be a chance too good to turn down.
In fact, it's exactly what they did last year with Kai Havertz. The German was seen as a world-class talent, and whilst most clubs were fighting to survive, Chelsea swooped in with a £75.8m bid to sign him from Bayer Leverkusen.
Now, it would take around double that to turn Dortmund's head, but with Roman Abramovich as their owner, Chelsea have the money for it.
Haaland is an elite player and if Chelsea were able to sign him in a year in which many cannot afford to, it would represent great business. Of course, £150m is a huge fee, but with the Norwegian just 20-years-old, the Blues would be sorting out their No.9 position for perhaps the next decade.
Yes - Current form of strikers
Chelsea's top scorer in the Premier League in 2020/21 was Jorginho with seven goal, all of which came from the penalty spot.
Mason Mount, Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham were all joint-second with six, and that's simply not good enough for a team hoping to challenge for the title.
In fact, Abraham played just 17 league minutes after February but still finished second on the scoring charts.
Only three teams in the Premier League failed to have a single player score eight or more league goals last year: Fulham, Wolves and Chelsea. That's relegation form and it needs fixing.
Haaland would do just that, and with the creativity of Mount, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech around him, the current Dortmund striker could flourish.
The Norway striker is a huge upgrade on the likes of Abraham, Werner and Olivier Giroud, and with Thomas Tuchl wanting a clinical No.9, Haaland is the perfect solutuion.
With Chelsea's defence so rock solid under Tuchel, if they added Haaland, they would be sorted at both ends of the pitch and a Premier League title would certainly be possible.
No - Reduced fee next summer
Haaland's contract expires in June 2024, but according to various reports, he has a release clause that comes into play in the summer of 2022. Sources disagree on the exact value, but it likely comes in around the £75m mark.
If Chelsea wait a year, they could sign Haaland for half the price, but the risk they take is that many other clubs will also be in for him.
However, as the current champions of Europe, they hold considerable power in the market. If they can replicate the form under Tuchel for the entirety of next season without Haaland, then he may well choose them next year - and they will have saved around £75m that could be spent on a defensive midfielder.
No - Excess of attacking options
Tuchel looks set to persist with his current 3-4-3 system, and if he does, then there's a plethora of attacking options for him.
Whilst Abraham looks destined to leave, Giroud has had his contract extended, and alongside the Frenchman, Werner, Havertz, Mount, Pulisic, Ziyech and Hudson-Odoi, as well as youngster Faustino Anjorin, will be competing for just three slots.
Mount is almost a guaranteed starter and Haaland would be as well, so that would leave six players fighting for one spot, if Anjorin is excluded. That's excessive and at least one sale would need to be made.
Furthermore, the Blues spent over £100m on Werner and Havertz, and although they haven't quite lived up to expectations, they need to be given time. Signing Haaland would prevent this as they both tend to play in the position that he would occupy.
Haaland is a world-class talent, but Chelsea would need to make at least one sale, plus Abraham to realistically fit him into the squad. His talent is worth £150m, but if he's available for half that price in 2022, it makes sense to wait to pick him up.
However, an opportunity to sign him may never come around again, and with a player so talented, you simply can't let that slip through your fingers.