Can Chelsea pull off the Erling Haaland transfer this summer?

Has Marina Granovskaia met her match? Chelsea’s transfer chief wants £170m Erling Haaland, but Dortmund insist he’s NOT moving and will drive a hard bargain like on Jadon Sancho… so can she seal summer’s biggest deal?

  • Chelsea are making early moves to sign Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland 
  • The Blues reportedly saw an opening bid rejected by Dortmund for their target 
  • The German club will drive a hard bargain like with exiting winger Jadon Sancho
  • Sportsmail assesses how likely the 20-year-old is to joining Chelsea this summer 

The future of Erling Haaland was always going to be the main transfer saga of the summer, and Chelsea appear to be the early frontrunners for the 20-year-old’s signature.

The Norwegian forward scored 41 goals in 41 games for Borussia Dortmund last season and has stapled himself as one of the top strikers in Europe. 

Thomas Tuchel’s Blues, Manchester City and Real Madrid are all keen on bringing in Haaland to secure guaranteed goals for the upcoming campaign. Whoever the striker joins will be an early influence on at least one of the European title races this summer.

With Chelsea’s interest in Haaland stepping up in the last few days, Sportsmail answers the all-important questions on whether the 20-year-old will end up at Stamford Bridge come the end of August…

Erling Haaland is one of the major transfer talking points in the current summer window so far 

Chelsea are stealing an early march for Haaland thanks to director Marina Granovskaia (left) 

What interest have Chelsea shown so far?

Chelsea’s interest in signing Haaland dates back to March, when Sportsmail revealed that the Blues, Real and City were the three main clubs interested in the young forward. 

When the season ended at the end of May and beginning of June, the Blues then opened talks with Dortmund over Haaland’s availability, with Chelsea hearing that they could end up paying as much as £170million for him.

Chelsea’s interest in an often disgruntled Haaland has been going on since March

Earlier this week, reports in Germany claimed that Roman Abramovich had freed up the funds for the Blues to go and get Haaland for £150m, though they would need to include one of Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham as part of the deal.

On Thursday, Sky Sports Germany claimed Dortmund had rebuffed an opening offer from Chelsea for Haaland – which involved cash and one of Abraham or Hudson-Odoi. 

Given the Premier League side’s long-running interest in the 20-year-old, the Blues are expected to return with another offer. This is not the last you’ve heard of this transfer saga. 

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has reportedly released the £150m needed to sign Haaland

What have Dortmund said about Chelsea’s interest?

The German club hold all the cards but have been silent on any claims that Chelsea made an opening bid for the striker.

Haaland recently returned to pre-season training with Dortmund and the Bundesliga side’s hierarchy were bombarded with questions about the striker’s future. 

The club’s sporting director Sebastian Kehl told Sky Germany this week: ‘There is nothing new on this matter. He is in our plans. Erling will return this week and he will be very hungry. 

Haaland (left) returned to pre-season training with Dortmund this week despite speculation

‘He wants to play football, he feels comfortable with us and he will be eager to score many goals.’ 

Fellow sporting director Michael Zorc was more light-hearted about Haaland’s future this week, joking that Haaland is ‘already in England’ when many questioned why the Norwegian did not show up for pre-season fitness training.

The 20-year-old was spotted later in the week with a smile on his face in training despite the intense speculation over his future. 

Director Sebastian Kehl has said that Haaland wants to play and is comfortable at Dortmund

Is the deal likely to happen? 

That is the magic question. And there’s a very difficult answer to it. 

On paper, the deal could easily happen. Chelsea transfer director Marina Granovskaia has a track history of getting what she wants, while Dortmund’s entire club structure is based on selling players at their peak and reinvesting. 

But the German club have shown in recent years that they can be tough negotiators. After all, they have never had a player who is as valuable as Haaland.

Chelsea transfer director Granovskaia has a track history of getting what she wants in markets

That will be seen as a major challenge to Granovskaia, Abramovich’s close advisor for nearly two decades and the one who runs the transfer ins and outs at the club. 

The executive director has overseen the arrivals of stars such as Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante, Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic and Alvaro Morata – and managed to snap those players up when they were chased by Europe’s most wanted and richest. 

Her knowledge of the transfer market is exceptional, especially when it comes to outgoings – as David Luiz, Oscar, Diego Costa, Morata and Hazard have all been sold for a whopping combined £340m.

Granovskaia has sealed many coups for Chelsea over the years, including Eden Hazard (left)

Haaland is a transfer guru’s dream: at 20 years old he not only has enough time on his hands to make a long-term difference on the pitch but he can also potentially be resold for a profit should the club choose to go in a different direction. 

When Haaland was signed by Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg for £20m in January 2020, the German club knew they weren’t able to keep him for long – and this is Chelsea’s chance. 

But Dortmund may drive a hard bargain and try to keep Haaland at the club. After all, they remained firm in their stance on Jadon Sancho’s move to Manchester United last summer – £108m in full or he stays.  

That stance enabled Dortmund to keep Sancho for another year and they could pull a similar move with Haaland. After all, the Bundesliga club have been defiant on Haaland’s happiness already this summer.

Dortmund could drive a hard bargain for Haaland (right) like they did with Jadon Sancho (left)

Dortmund eventually relented on Sancho and accepted a £73m bid from Manchester United due to the way coronavirus has moved the goalposts on football’s financial market. 

But to lose both Sancho and Haaland in the same summer would be similar to starting from scratch, and Dortmund hold the Haaland card in their hands.  

Who do Chelsea turn to if they fail to sign Haaland?

There are many other reasons why Haaland might not join Chelsea this summer – he might not want to move yet or City and Real could swoop in, to give just two examples. 

So the Blues need to have some back-up plans in place should the Norwegian fail to secure a move to Stamford Bridge. 

Romelu Lukaku could be a transfer target for Chelsea should talks over Haaland fall through

One other target is Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku, who spent three years at Chelsea a decade ago, before leaving to join Everton, with Sportsmail revealing at the end of May that the Blues were prepared to re-enter talks for the striker. 

The Belgian forward has just helped Inter to their first Serie A title in 11 years, with the 28-year-old netting 24 times in 36 top-flight appearances. 

Despite this San Siro success for Lukaku, there are several reasons why he could swap blue and black for blue and white this summer. 

Firstly, the Italian giants need to sell up due to the ongoing financial issues due to the coronavirus pandemic. In selling Lukaku, the Nerazzurri would be selling one of their best players but a £100m-plus sale would release some financial pressure on the club, while Inter still have Lautaro Martinez as a talismanic striker.

Lukaku first joined Chelsea a decade ago but was not fancied there and is now a top striker

Boss Antonio Conte, who used to manage Chelsea, also quit Inter earlier this summer due to the financial constraints. He and Lukaku enjoyed a great striker-coach relationship together and the forward may look to move on now one of his mentors has left.  

Another option is Tottenham striker Harry Kane, which would be one of the most controversial transfers in Premier League history due to the animosity between Spurs and Chelsea. 

Kane is currently being pursued by Manchester City and Sportsmail revealed that a £100m bid from Pep Guardiola’s side has been rejected by Spurs. 

The Blues could also plot a dramatic swoop for Tottenham’s £150m-rated striker Harry Kane

But Haaland would surely be next on City’s radar should Kane not be available, which could open up a route for Granovskaia to steal a march on the 27-year-old England captain. 

The other alternative for Chelsea is simple: stick with what they’ve got. Werner and Kai Havertz only joined last summer for a combined total of £136.5m and helped the Blues to the Champions League title in their debut season.

Yet Olivier Giroud is leaving and Abraham is not fancied, while Granovskaia knows one important rule in the transfer market – when Erling Haaland becomes available, you must get Erling Haaland.

She will stop at nothing to get the 20-year-old in a Blues shirt this summer.

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