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Thomas Tuchel’s Priority this summer should be to land a big name striker: Opinion

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Liverpool consider a move for unsettled Chelsea star Timo Werner. 

Chelsea’s astonishing 2020/21 season has understandably fuelled anticipation for the coming campaign. Is Thomas Tuchel’s side ready to compete for the Premier League? Can they repeat their remarkable Champions League success?

Certainly football punters seem to think so and bookmakers are taking no chances. Fans placing a wager on the Blues’ will find Chelsea rated alongside Liverpool as the main danger to Manchester City, with Tuchel’s ability to get the better of Pep Guardiola in head to head match-ups a significant part of the calculation for many.

If that serious challenge is to materialise, however, more needs to be done to strengthen the Chelsea squad. There is one area that is clearly in need of immediate attention.

In finishing fourth in the Premier League last time, Chelsea scored 58 goals, compared to  Manchester City’s 83, Manchester United’s 73 and Liverpool’s 68. Leicester, West Ham, Tottenham and Leeds also outscored the Blues. And of the teams that finished in the top half of the table, only Arsenal and Everton scored fewer goals.

Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham have had their moments, but they haven’t exactly been prolific under Tuchel. With a wealth of creativity in attacking midfield, the club are clearly crying out for reinforcements among the ranks of the strikers.

Top of Tuchel’s list is Erling Haaland. One of the most sought-after young strikers in world football. It has been an open secret that Chelsea have been chasing the Norwegian star for some time. A record of 40 goals in 43 appearances for Borussia Dortmund underlines his ability and consistency and there is no doubt that he would be the perfect fit for Tuchel.

Yet while Chelsea’s desire to bring Haaland to Stamford Bridge is well known, so is Dortmund’s reluctance to part with their prize asset. With Jadon Sancho on the way to Manchester United, Dortmund are keen to keep Haaland for another season.

That leaves Chelsea with a dilemma. Should they wait another season to sign the Norwegian star or make a move for another option and risk missing out on Haaland when he does become available? While the Dortmund sensation would be their first choice, the priority for Tuchel has to be mounting a Premier League challenge right now. Failing to sign a major striker this summer would be a serious blow to those ambitions. 

So, if Haaland is not available, who should be top of Chelsea’s list of potential replacements? Danny Ings is a name that will come up for many PL teams. The England international struggled while at Liverpool but since joining Southampton in 2018, he has prospered. The fact that he has refused to sign a new contract going into the final year of his existing deal has attracted the attention of a number of clubs. Chelsea would be the most attractive of the potential suitors.

At 28, Ings doesn’t have the same potential as Haaland, nor the same prolific goal scoring record. However, he also won’t have such a hefty price tag attached. Ings also comes with plenty of Premier League experience, with Burnley, Liverpool and Saints, and his ability to find the net from almost any position. Along with that experience, make him a potentially attractive signing for the Blues.

While Ings could represent a good value acquisition at a reasonable price, Chelsea may also be tempted by a player with a much heftier price tag. Harry Kane is another big name that is set to switch teams this summer and Chelsea may yet enter the race for his signature.

It was generally assumed within football that Tottenham would be unwilling to sell Kane to a London rival, but that calculation may have shifted. According to some reports, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy may be keener to sell Kane to Chelsea than to Manchester City. The reason appears to be that Chelsea can offer more affordable assets as part of a cash-and-players deal.

Although the original price reported for Kane’s signature was between £100 and £150 million, some reports suggest Levy is pushing for £200 million, and while it may be possible for Chelsea to stretch that far, a deal involving players is likely to be more feasible. Tammy Abraham is an obvious candidate, but Tottenham may also be interested in centre halves Kurt Zouma or Andreas Christensen. And if the Blues were to miss out on Haaland, bringing the England captain to Stamford Bridge would alleviate any disappointment. It also makes Tuchel an even bigger threat to City and Liverpool.

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