“Manchester City can confirm we have reached an agreement in principle with Borussia Dortmund for the transfer of striker Erling Haaland to the club on 1st July 2022. The transfer remains subject to the club finalising terms with the player.”
A statement that shows the difficult task Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel will have in their quest to hunt down the Premier League’s very best. At this current moment Chelsea cannot reach an agreement in principle with another club and cannot even come close to finalising terms with a player. Even their own.
Tuchel has already conceded that the Blues will be behind their rivals in the transfer market, and despite Todd Boehly’s group agreeing a deal to acquire Chelsea, they are still unable to progress beyond in-house conversations about potential targets due to the licence they must operate under as a result of Roman Abramovich’s sanctions.
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Almost 12 months ago it was Chelsea in the position of Manchester City, looking to land a potent striker to solve their issues in front of goal. The west London club even explored a deal for the Norwegian international but the finances surrounding a deal were astronomical. Haaland’s release clause did not come into action until this summer with Chelsea hoping to jump the queue.
In the end, the Blues claimed Romelu Lukaku for £97.5million, while Pep Guardiola’s side were in the market for a striker too but baulked at Harry Kane’s price-tag. The Belgian striker may be Chelsea’s top goalscorer this season, but he’s far from guaranteed to be Tuchel’s first choice and more would have been expected than the 14 goals he has recorded this season.
Many question whether Lukaku was the right fit for Chelsea, though a similar number of people perhaps thought he was the final piece of the jigsaw the club needed to challenge for the Premier League. Manchester City on the other hand are set to add Haaland to their squad with the hopes of turning their finished product into a 3D-puzzle for the opposition to figure out.
The pressure was on Lukaku from the moment he returned to west London, and while Haaland will come with expectation if he finalises his terms to complete the £51million deal, the 21-year-old has the benefit of knowing that the team behind him is already capable of wining the Champions League. Perhaps, that comes with its own pressure, however. The fact that City have played without a stereotypical striker over the last couple of seasons with Sergio Aguero even playing in reduced role before his departure may add further layers to the settling in period.
The signing nevertheless sends a message to the league and Chelsea. The likely Premier League champions are set to welcome a forward who has bagged 61 goals in 66 Bundesliga appearances for Borussia Dortmund for almost half the price of Lukaku. The 23 goals he has recorded in 19 Champions League matches surely did not go unnoticed with European glory once again evading the Etihad side.
The Blues already have significant pressure on them this summer. The club need to replenish their defence with the departures of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, resolve a number of contracts set to expire in 2023 including that of N’Golo Kante and sign players to elevate the squad from where it is this term. With the takeover not expected until the end of the month, a lot of work will be truncated into a shorter summer period where the transfer window is set to open on June 10th. Important but difficult decisions await.
For almost two decades Chelsea’s culture has been all about winning, and Manchester City continue to make that more difficult.
Source by Football London