It doesn’t take a genius to see that Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland is pretty good at football.
The Norwegian sensation, who bagged 29 goals in 27 appearances with Red Bull Salzburg, has followed that up with 35 goals in his first 35 games in Germany. He’s scoring goals in the league and in Europe. He’s good.
Players of that kind of calibre will always be welcome at a club like Chelsea, who are said to be ready to shatter their transfer record to sign Haaland during the summer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Blues should move for him.
Physically putting the ball in the back of the net hasn’t been the biggest problem for Chelsea. Out-and-out strikers Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham have combined for 17 goals this season, while Timo Werner chips in with nine of his own, despite spending most of his time as a winger.
The art of goalscoring hasn’t been a major problem for Chelsea, who finished third in the Premier League‘s scoring charts last year and currently sit tied for the same spot.
The problem for Chelsea has been pretty much everything else.
Creating chances hasn’t been easy for the Blues. Neither has winning the midfield battle, and we don’t even need to waste our time talking about their constant defensive struggles. There are glaring holes in this Chelsea squad, and splashing out £100m on Haaland won’t fix that.
Sure, Chelsea might score more goals, and that might lead to more wins, but the problems will remain the same. If you take a Chelsea striker out of the game, the Blues have got nothing.
There’s reason to believe Chelsea will fix their creativity problem soon – Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount are all far too good for these problems to persist forever – but everything behind that forward line is just so shaky.
Central midfielders like Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic have been exposed too often, and that has led to more problems in defence. There’s no denying that Chelsea are better at the back this year, but things still aren’t alright.
Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy now appears mortal again after an electric start to the season, while the centre-back duo of Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma has both positives and negatives. Out wide, Ben Chilwell and Reece James have impressed, yet both could do more defensively.
If we’re pumping £100m into this squad to take it to the next level, that money simply cannot be spent in attack.
As Frank Lampard has always said, Chelsea’s attacking pieces just need time to gel and figure things out. You won’t find many people who don’t think the Blues have the potential to be the most exciting attack in the league. The talent is there.
Instead of throwing another expensive cog into the already-malfunctioning machine, Chelsea must address the problems at the other end of the field.
Chelsea do appear to be aware of the need to fix up defensively. West Ham’s Declan Rice has been sat at the top of the wish list for a while, while RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano and AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma have also been discussed.
Whether it’s those specific targets or not, Chelsea must follow through with that plan. If it means Haaland goes elsewhere, so be it. Watching him score goals for someone else will be far less painful than pulling your own hair out at another defensive disasterclass.
This rebuild has been too rocky for Chelsea to continue muddling up their priorities. It’s time to get things straight and wave goodbye to Haaland.