If Chelsea can’t land Erling Haaland’s signature, who could they target?
Chelsea have ambitions to climb to the top of European football in the near future, and that desire is captured by the club’s recent transfer business.
Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell are just three names who arrived at Stamford Bridge last summer for eye-watering transfer fees, with Erling Haaland linked with a move of late.
The Borussia Dortmund striker has the world at his feet at the moment and has been tipped by many to be the heir to the throne that has been occupied by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the most part of the past decade.
While Chelsea are likely to hold an interest in Haaland’s services, his signature could prove to be incredibly difficult to capture, so who else could the Blues target as a similar alternative to the Norwegian striker?
Let’s take a look at some options.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is one of the players who seems to have made the infamous leap from potential to ability this season, having bagged 13 Premier League goals for Everton so far.
He’s already matched his total from last season in 14 fewer appearances, and he’s generally portrayed himself as a relatively complete striker who is very much in the no.9 mould.
Similar to Haaland, Calvert-Lewin is physically imposing and able to occupy a defensive line single-handedly, but he’s also quick enough across the ground to get on the end of penetrative through balls.
Calvert-Lewin is also English and homegrown, and much like Haaland, he’s significantly improved his ability to convert shots into goals this year, with Carlo Ancelotti stressing the need for him to shoot with his first touch earlier in the campaign.
Only Son Heung-min and Ilkay Gundogan have converted their shots into goals to a better level in the Premier League than the Everton man this season once compared to players who have taken 30 shots or more.
Still just 23 years-old, Calvert-Lewin could lead the line for Chelsea for years to come and he fits the profile of player that Werner prefers to play alongside, with Tuchel stating: “He likes to play next to the guy who is the reference in the middle.”
He would not come cheap, but he’s certainly comparable to Haaland in terms of the profile of both players
Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad)
More of a wildcard option would be Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak, who has bags of potential and possesses similar qualities to Haaland but isn’t quite as good yet.
The Swedish striker is still only 21 years-old and he was deemed as the next big thing when Borussia Dortmund purchased him from AIK in 2017, but he didn’t quite progress as intended in Germany before being sold in the summer of 2019.
Since, he’s shown glimpses of what BVB thought he would become. He’s found the net 12 times in La Liga this season while also registering two assists, average a scoring contribution every 101 minutes.
For non-penalty Expected Goals per 90 this season, Isak ranks 11th in Europe’s top five leagues behind the seasoned performers such as Mauro Icardi, Romelu Lukaku and Kylian Mbappe to name but a few.
Like Haaland and Calvert-Lewin, Isak is taller than most standing over 6-foot-2 but he’s also quite fast and possesses enough skills to act as a lone striker.
He’s not ready just yet to start on a regular basis for a team with the immediate aspirations of Chelsea, but he could become a world beater – like Haaland – once his prime years come around
Andre Silva (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Andre Silva is a different type of striker than Haaland, but this season he’s shown that he’s certainly capable of accumulating a healthy goals total.
Silva is shorter than the Dortmund man and he’s the oldest of the players on the list, while still only aged 25 as of last November.
Since transferring from AC Milan for a cut-price last summer, Silva has scored 19 goals in 21 appearances in the Bundesliga, placing him behind only two players in Europe’s top five leagues in Robert Lewandowski (28) and Cristiano Ronaldo (20).
The Portuguese striker is a keen shooter, even more so than Haaland this season; He’s averaging 3.5 efforts on goal per 90 in the Bundesliga – placing him third in the division – compared to Haaland’s 3.4 in fifth place.
Silva is much of a stellar name just yet, but he could be attainable at the end of the campaign and based on his emergence this season, he looks like the type of big talent who tends to slip under the radar.
Tammy Abraham (Chelsea)
Tammy Abraham is obviously a cheat recommendation, as he’s already contracted to the club. However, there can sometimes be a tendency to overlook what isn’t brand new.
Abraham is well-known at Stamford Bridge and although he’s yet to truly catch fire, he is very comparable to Haaland across a number of different departments.
He’s roughly the same height as the Dortmund striker at 6-foot-3, but while also possessing enough pace to threaten in behind. In addition, he’s inclined to get on the end of chances in good areas, although he doesn’t yet convert his shots to Haaland’s level of efficiency.
Moreover, he remains just 23 years-old which indicates that his peak years are almost certain to lurk around the corner. When that time comes around, he has the potential to explode in front of goal similarly to the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah.
The Blues allowed both of those superstars to leave the club in search of more game time, and they have to be extremely careful that Abraham doesn’t follow a similar path.