This summer, Chelsea are eyeing a daring move for a young forward who can lead the line for years to come. Sound familiar? You might be thinking of 2020, when Chelsea agreed a deal to bring in German striker Timo Werner. Even alongside compatriot Kai Havertz, though, it is fair to say that Chelsea have yet to find the star striker they can build around. Typically, flagship Premier League forwards are more crunch than craft – and this could see Chelsea return to the summer market to buy a top striker.
Reports suggest they will move on from Olivier Giroud, with the 34-year-old unlikely to sign an extension and thus leave on a free. Academy forward Tammy Abraham has seen precious little time on the pitch since Thomas Tuchel arrived at Cobham. Therefore, he could move on to find first-team football, with various Premier League clubs linked with moves in the region of £30m-plus.
This would give Chelsea the salary and finance to go ahead and make a major striker signing. The two names being most linked will surely excite Chelsea fans. Who, then, are the two primary targets to lead the line next season?
Erling Braut Haaland
A name long linked with Chelsea, the Blues are set to do battle with most of Europe to land the precocious star. If current club Borussia Dortmund miss out on the UEFA Champions League, a fee in excess of £120m could see Haaland move on this summer as opposed to next summer when intended.
Despite his strong affection for Leeds United, it is likely that Haaland would see Chelsea as an ideal landing point. The Blues have an incredible team behind him who fit in with his age. Also, he offers the longevity they need to build around, and has the power, speed, and finishing to be a Premier League superstar.
While the fee might be huge, Haaland could be enticed given how Chelsea have performed in the UCL this year. Given his love and near-obsession with the top competition in Europe, Chelsea might find a Finals appearance, or a victory, might put them head of the table for the Norwegian.
Ex-player Lukaku, a lifelong Chelsea fan and seen by many as the natural heir to the Didier Drogba-shaped hole that has existed since his exit, is the other option. Though he has become a near-legend at Internazionale since arriving under coach Antonio Conte, himself a former Chelsea employee, an exit from Italy would be seen as a shock.
However, unlike Haaland, it comes down to off the pitch considerations as opposed to European qualification. Despite almost certainly winning the Italian Serie A title, ownership issues could see Suning have to sell players in the summer as they are unable to directly get involved as they could prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As such, Inter might be forced into selling their star asset. At a prime age and with two years of incredible personal and team success in Italy, could Lukaku decide to return to the league where he made his name? If he did, unfinished business at Chelsea would definitely be seen as an opportunity worth taking.
His first stint at Chelsea was a failure, and his failure to arrive under Conte was seen as a club blunder. Could it be third time lucky for player and club?