Roman Abramovich ‘releases £150 MILLION funds for Erling Haaland deal’ as Chelsea owner looks to build on Champions League win
Despite winning the Champions League for just the second time in their history last season, Abramovich and Chelsea are intent on not resting on their laurels ahead of further challenges in the forthcoming campaign – and chief among the club's list of potential self-improvements is securing the services of a proven goalscorer to lead the line for Thomas Tuchel's European champions.
Midfield dynamo Jorginho was, quite bizarrely, the Blues' top Premier League scorer last season, but his seven goals from the penalty spot have laid bare the issues that Chelsea have in front of goal.
German striker Timo Werner, it was hoped at least, would address these issues but neither he nor his striking colleagues at Stamford Bridge, Milan-bound Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham, could harness the necessary goalscoring nous that a club of Chelsea's stature require.
Enter Erling Haaland. The 20-year-old Norwegian star has been a revelation since he was drafted into the Bundesliga around 18 months ago, scoring 57 goals in just 59 games in his time with the German side.
Reports indicate that a release clause in Haaland's contract could make him available for a (relatively) cut-price deal next summer. However, Abramovich seems poised to steal a march on the rest of the European elite by bankrolling a massive sum – believed to be £150 million ($207 million) – to ensure that one of world football's highest-regarded young properties makes his way to south west London in the coming weeks, according to a report from Bild.
This won't be easy, though. Both Manchester City and Real Madrid are also keen on Haaland, and would likely be able to generate the cash necessary to fund the gargantuan transfer should whispers emerge from Dortmund that Haaland might be available at a certain price.
For Chelsea, money isn't usually much of a hindrance when it comes to making moves on the transfer market but the club are keen to maintain an air of solvency at a time when the finances of many top European clubs have bene devastated by the impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
And if Haaland is to come in, it may lead to several members of the Chelsea squad being pushed out the door. Hakim Ziyech is understood to be available after a tepid debut season with Chelsea following a move from Ajax, while academy graduate Abraham is also thought to be of interest to a number of Premier League clubs.
Callum Hudson-Odoi, the one-time Bayern Munich target, is another Chelsea youngster who may also be sacrificed at the altar of Haaland.
The situation may be complicated, however, by Jadon Sancho's impending move to Manchester United amid concerns by Haaland's suitors that the German side may look to avoid the exodus of their two brightest stars within just weeks of each other.Also on rt.com ‘They forgot the main course’: Erling Haaland responds to reports he dropped $600K on lavish lunch in Greek celeb spot Mykonos
The omens for Chelsea fans are good, though. Their last Champions League win in 2012 was thought to be a key consideration in Eden Hazard selecting Chelsea as his destination when the Belgian was European football's hottest young prospect some nine years ago - and his subsequent spell at the Blues marked him out as one of the club's best-ever foreign imports.
Haaland, it is hoped, would have a similar impact - but Dortmund appear set to play hardball when it comes to the prodding of Chelsea and others.
"Nothing has changed. We are firmly planning with Erling for the new season," said the club's sporting director Michael Zorc to Bild.