Chelsea ‘cooled their interest in signing Erling Haaland over concerns about his suitability for the Premier League – because he will not get the same space to attack as he had at Borussia Dortmund’
- Chelsea reportedly pulled out of chasing Erling Haaland due to some concerns
- The Blues reportedly felt his pace and strength may be less effective in England
- Haaland, 21, has signed for Manchester City for £51million on £385,000 a week
Erling Haaland’s suitability for the Premier League was reportedly a key reason for Chelsea cooling their interest in signing the star striker, who has since joined Manchester City.
The 21-year-old’s goalscoring record is astonishing – 85 goals in 88 games for Borussia Dortmund – but the Blues had concerns about him translating that form to England’s top division, according to ESPN.
Haaland’s game is based on brute strength and speed – notwithstanding his fine technical skills – and he has simply blown sides away with his power for Dortmund in the Bundesliga and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria before that.
Concerns over his style of play in England reportedly saw Chelsea cool on Erling Haaland
You heard it here first: Sportsmail’s Jack Gaughan and Craig Hope broke the news of City’s deal for Haaland back on March 11 of this year
Several of the world’s biggest clubs were intent on signing the star this summer, but City won the race to bring him to the Etihad for £51million, on wages believed to be in the region of £385,000 a week.
However, ESPN report that a number of clubs expressed doubts over Haaland. For Chelsea, it came down a question of whether Haaland’s skills and style of play would be as successful in the Premier League as they have been elsewhere.
The English league is widely regarded as both the fastest and most physical elite division in the world.
Chelsea’s concern was that Haaland is afforded a lot more time and space in Germany, allowed to either run at players with the ball or attack spaces in behind the defence without it, the ESPN report continues.
Chelsea worried that Haaland would have less time and space in England and be less effective
Being denied such space in the Premier League could potentially make the Norwegian less effective.
The Blues need look no further than their own dressing room for a cautionary tale about signing superstar strikers that have flourished outside the Premier League.
It was only last summer that they re-signed Romelu Lukaku with much fanfare for a club record £98m.
The Belgian had just completed a stellar season with Inter Milan in Serie A, scoring 24 goals in 36 league games and helping them lift their first league title for 11 years.
Chelsea signed Romelu Lukaku after his success in Serie A – but his move has been a disaster
But his time at Chelsea this season has been a disaster, with Lukaku failing to nail down a first-team spot due primarily to a mismatch with his playing style and manager Thomas Tuchel’s tactics.
He has scored just seven goals in 24 Premier League appearances this season.
Another example that is much closer to home for Haaland is his former Dortmund colleague Jadon Sancho, who pitched up in the red side of the same city when joining Manchester United for £73m last summer.
The similarities with Haaland are striking, as Sancho also gathered huge interest from top clubs off the back of his standout performances in the Bundesliga, primarily providing assists for his then Norwegian team-mate.
Jadon Sancho is another who has struggled in the Premier League since leaving Dortmund
But, like Lukaku, Sancho’s integration into Premier League life has been tough.
In 29 league appearances, the England forward has scored a paltry three goals and provided just three assists.
Whether Chelsea’s reported concerns over Haaland are well-founded will be revealed next season, when the Norwegian lines up in the sky blue colours of City.
One rival manager has already disagreed with the Blues’ reported assessment, with Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp calling Haaland ‘a really good signing’.
When asked – after seeing his side beat Aston Villa on Tuesday – if Haaland’s arrival at the Etihad Stadium would make City stronger, Klopp replied: ‘A lot. Good player. City was never and will never be a team that wins because of one player.
‘They have a specific way to play, and I think Erling will all of a sudden realise that he will score a lot of goals at the second post where he just puts his foot on it. He will love that. He is a real beast.
‘He was injured a couple of times at Dortmund but when he’s fit he’s a real beast. Unfortunately, he is a really good signing.’
Jurgen Klopp saw Haaland score against his Liverpool side for Red Bull Salzburg in 2019