Chelsea have had no trouble attracting the biggest names in football over the last two decades which has contributed to their growth and success as a highly-rated club both domestically and in Europe.
Despite Roman Abramovich selling the club last summer to Todd Boehly, the superstar culture has remained at Stamford Bridge with the American owner splashing out over £600m in just over six months with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Enzo Fernandez being snapped up.
The Blues have rarely got it wrong and rarely find themselves missing out on their transfer targets, offering enticing and lucrative packages to their players, however, there was one player who they missed out on more than once and could’ve been the solution to their biggest problem this season.
Did Chelsea nearly sign Erling Haaland?
Chelsea made their first attempt to sign Manchester City striker Erling Haaland back in 2019 when Frank Lampard held the reins at Stamford Bridge and then made a second attempt in 2021 when Thomas Tuchel was in charge.
The Norwegian goal machine has been tearing it up since his arrival at the Etihad last summer and is on course to break the goal-scoring record in a Premier League season with 26 goals and four assists already tallied up.
In fact, Haaland has out-scored a number of top flight clubs including Chelsea, Everton, Crystal Palace, Nottingham Forest, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bournemouth, West Ham United and Southampton, which is an incredible achievement and would have been extremely beneficial to the Blues if they had secured his signature.
Over their current campaign, Graham Potter’s side have found themselves struggling in front of goal with the worst goal tally (23) in the top half of the Premier League which has contributed to their inability to pick up important results leaving them tenth in the table and ten points adrift of top four.
Lampard spoke out about Chelsea’s efforts to sign Haaland after spotting him in a pre-season friendly with RB Salzburg four years ago: “I tried to sign him for Chelsea and it was not to be.
“It was clear in our pre-match preparation what this boy was. Fair play to him.”
The club made the 22-year-old – dubbed a “robot” by presenter Charlie Morley – their top transfer target again in 2021 when the player was excelling in the Bundesliga but eventually settled for a £97.5m move for Romelu Lukaku when the former Borussia Dortmund star was not keen to make a move to another club at the time.
It’s a decision that would later haunt the Chelsea hierarchy in hindsight with Lukaku failing to make the desired impact and returning to Inter Milan on loan just 12 months later after scoring only eight league goals.
With that being said, if the club had signed Haaland – now worth (€200m) £178m according to CIES Observatory – there is no doubt that Chelsea would likely be in a much different position and comfortably competing if he could’ve offered the same output in west London. Indeed, their decision to bring Lukaku in instead can only be seen as a huge blunder by the previous regime.
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