Chelsea: The first six fixtures of the 2021/22 Premier League
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Chelsea’s plan A this transfer window was to bring in the necessary reinforcements to mount a title challenge next season. However, with closing deals proving more difficult than anticipated, Kai Havertz is a more than suitable alternative up top. The best part is, he wouldn’t cost them a penny.
The transfer window has not been a happy hunting ground for Chelsea this week after seeing Achraf Hakimi snub the prospect of Stamford Bridge for PSG.
To compound their misery, long-term target Declan Rice is the subject of links to Liverpool which may thwart plans they had to lure the England midfielder to the club.
All eyes therefore turn towards Borussia Dortmund’s 20-year-old sensation Erling Haaland.
While he would bring plenty of goals and put plenty of names on the back of shirts, it would come at an extortionate cost.
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With Dortmund in a perpetual state of good financial health, they can afford to be stubborn in the transfer market when it comes to their top talent.
Of course, Manchester United know this better than anybody after more than a year of chasing winger Jadon Sancho.
The result is that a fee in the region of £150million would be required to prise Haaland away from the Westfalenstadion, a sum which would almost double the existing British record that United paid for Paul Pogba.
Adding an extra layer of spice to the Haaland saga is the fact that a cut-price £68m release clause becomes active next summer.
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With this in mind, keeping your hands in your pockets seems like a no-brainer, although it does carry the risk of letting another club swoop in if they were willing to stump up the money.
Alternatively, manager Thomas Tuchel could look to a familiar face to tackle Chelsea’s lack of potency from the centre-forward position.
Havertz set the Blues back more than £70m last summer, and despite being deployed in a number of different positions across midfield and attack, it was only at the tail-end of the campaign where he truly found his rhythm.
Where was he playing more often than not? Up top.
This should come as no surprise to followers of the Bundesliga as Havertz netted 38 times in his final two seasons at Bayer Leverkusen where he was regularly used as a centre-forward.
Although he is yet to hit the heights in west London that he did at his former club, drawing a line under the Haaland saga and putting trust in the German ahead of next season could be the boost he needs to find his best form.
Make no bones about it, the 22-year-old could not bring the direct goal threat that Haaland would, but Chelsea have enough goal-hungry wingers who would thrive in a harmonious frontline.
Backing Havertz would not necessarily be the best option if money was no object, but a hefty £150m sum may force Chelsea to seek out their next best option this summer.
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