Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has admitted he ‘fell into a trap’ when discussing the club’s interest in Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland this week, which led to a backlash in Germany.
Tuchel said that Haaland, who was on Chelsea’s radar in the summer before completing a £97.5m deal for Romelu Lukaku, is still ‘talked about regularly’ at Stamford Bridge.
The Norwegian has become one of the most talked about players in world football because of his goal record, which has seen him score 70 times in 69 Dortmund appearances since January 2020, with Manchester United, Manchester City and Real Madrid among his main suitors.
Chelsea had been interested in launching a bid for Haaland this summer just gone, even though it would have meant paying more than double his release clause. But regardless of spending £97.5m on Romelu Lukaku, overplaying the Belgian and Tuchel’s comments suggest there is still a need to sign the striker.
Manchester United have Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani, 36 and 34 respectively, as their primary striker options, while Manchester City are operating without a recognised striker this season after failing to convince Tottenham to sell them Harry Kane.
“I fell into a trap. I got an award in Germany. I got an award from a newspaper. They gave me this award and asked me about a player. Normally I never speak about other players,” Tuchel clarified.
“I should have known better because in making fun about it and being a nice guy to answer a question, getting this award, I joke about a double striker with Romelu in October and it gets like we put an offer in. I should have known better.”
Haaland has a release clause in his contract that comes into play at the end of the season, capping his price at a €75m (£63.4m). It is a relatively modest sum considering his current ability, age and long-term potential to get even better.
Any club that formally indicates a willingness to trigger Haaland’s release clause is granted the right to formally negotiate a transfer with him, cutting Dortmund out of the loop.
But any deal would only go through if the player accepts an offer and Dortmund coach Marco Rose is defiant about the assumption will Haaland will leave at the earliest opportunity.
“Why shouldn't a smart boy like Erling develop the feeling, when things are going well, to stay in Dortmund? I definitely see an opportunity,” Rose has been quoted as saying by Bild.