Erling Haaland won’t get the chance to showcase his expertise at this summer season’s European Championship as a consequence of Norway’s failure to qualify. However even because the event will get underneath means, his title is certain to proceed dominating headlines.
The Borussia Dortmund striker’s future is the topic of intense hypothesis. His agent, Mino Raiola, met with Barcelona and Actual Madrid for talks in April, whereas Haaland has additionally attracted curiosity from Manchester Metropolis and Manchester United.
It’s European champions Chelsea, nonetheless, who’ve emerged as essentially the most severe suitors for the £150m-rated aim machine, with Thomas Tuchel reportedly figuring out the Haaland as the person to resolve the aspect’s long-standing points on the prime of the pitch.
The deal won’t be simple to tug off, however right here, we have a look at the scoring points which have prompted Chelsea’s curiosity and look at the methods wherein Haaland might take them to a different degree.
Chelsea’s ending downside
Chelsea’s ending downside predates Tuchel’s appointment. It was obvious all through Frank Lampard’s tenure and it was problem for Maurizio Sarri and even Antonio Conte earlier than him.
Eden Hazard was prolific and Tammy Abraham has impressed in patches however the membership haven’t had a really elite presence within the central hanging function since Diego Costa’s departure in 2017.
Timo Werner could but show himself in that regard. He actually has the pedigree having scored 95 occasions in 159 appearances for his earlier membership RB Leipzig.
But when Tuchel is to construct on Chelsea’s Champions League success, he is aware of it will be an enormous threat to pin his hopes on a participant who solely scored six Premier League targets in his first season in England.
Werner’s struggles in entrance of aim grew to become a working theme of Chelsea’s marketing campaign. Even of their Champions League ultimate conquer Manchester Metropolis, he spurned a number of golden alternatives.
The German is extra culpable than most in the case of dissecting Chelsea’s profligacy final season – his big-chance conversion fee was the third-lowest amongst gamers who scored six or extra Premier League targets – however the problem is a collective one.
Probably the most medical groups are capable of outperform their anticipated targets constantly, however Chelsea scored 5 fewer than they ought to have, based mostly on the standard of probabilities created. Solely 4 groups – Burnley, Brighton, Sheffield United and Fulham – had been extra wasteful.
Chelsea’s shot conversion fee was equally low. They transformed simply 14.4 per cent of their efforts on aim, in keeping with Opta, placing them 14th amongst Premier League golf equipment, sandwiched between Southampton and relegated West Brom.
Creativity was not an issue – Chelsea ranked among the many prime 4 Premier League sides for probabilities created, huge probabilities created and photographs on aim – however they could not discover the ending to match, a lot to the frustration of Tuchel and Lampard earlier than him.
Haaland’s killer contact
Haaland would absolutely change all that.
The striker has develop into one of the vital prolific scorers in Europe since his rise to prominence at Pink Bull Salzburg.
Having hit 29 targets in 27 appearances throughout his time with the Austrian outfit, he has discovered the web at an analogous fee since becoming a member of Borussia Dortmund in January of final yr.
In complete, the Norwegian has scored 57 targets in 59 appearances for Dortmund, together with a double of their German Cup conquer RB Leipzig on the finish of final season.
Few gamers are extra medical in entrance of aim and Haaland has demonstrated that ruthlessness constantly at Champions League degree since making his debut within the competitors with Pink Bull Salzburg initially of the 2019/20 marketing campaign.
His complete of 20 Champions League targets within the final two seasons places him degree with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and second solely to Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.
By way of effectivity, nonetheless, Haaland is unrivalled.
His common of a aim each 62.9 minutes is the most effective of any participant to have hit at the very least seven targets within the competitors throughout the final two seasons, whereas no one even comes near his 42.6 per cent shot conversion fee, with Alvaro Morata subsequent greatest down on 30 per cent.
Such a staggeringly excessive conversion fee will probably be tough – even perhaps not possible – to maintain over an extended interval, however Haaland’s numbers are equally spectacular in league video games throughout the final season and a half since his swap to Dortmund.
Throughout that interval, solely three gamers – Lewandowski, Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi – have scored extra targets in certainly one of Europe’s main leagues – however Haaland’s conversion fee of 31.5 per cent once more trumps all three of them.
Actually, of these to have tried at the very least 50 photographs in that timeframe, the one participant within the Bundesliga, Premier League, La Liga, Serie A or Ligue 1 with a superior conversion fee is Crotone’s 29-year-old striker Simy, who scored 20 occasions from 63 photographs final season.
Haaland’s underlying numbers, each domestically and in European competitors, assist to elucidate why he’s seen as a superstar-in-waiting. The prospect of him feeding off Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech and the remainder is a tantalising one for Chelsea.
Energy, velocity and extra
Haaland’s age clearly provides to his enchantment – he solely turned 20 initially of final season – however it’s his completeness, along with his ending potential, which makes him so uniquely harmful.
His 6ft 4in body and fearsome physicality make him an excellent targetman. He additionally has the technical guile to carry the ball up and produce others into play, after which there’s his scary tempo.
Manchester Metropolis discovered that out throughout their Champions League quarter-final towards Dortmund final season, with John Stones and Ruben Dias struggling to comprise him on the Etihad Stadium and Pep Guardiola describing him as a “b*****d” to play towards.
As Guardiola and his gamers witnessed first-hand, Haaland’s varied strengths imply he could be harmful in all situations – from counter-attacks to set items. It’s within the opposition penalty field, nonetheless, with the ball at his ft, that he involves life.
Thirty-nine of his 40 Bundesliga targets have come from contained in the field whereas 37 of them have been from open play. He’s an professional at timing his runs and popping up in scoring positions. He then has the cool-headedness to use the best end.
He specialises to find the corners together with his left foot from the left-hand aspect of the field however he’s comfy on his proper foot too and tends to range his runs to maintain defenders guessing.
Chelsea are already harmful from set items – solely 4 Premier League sides scored extra targets from dead-ball conditions final season – however Haaland’s menace from open play is exactly what they lack: the Blues ranked ninth for open-play targets in 2020/21.
It’s certainly one of few areas wherein this Chelsea aspect proceed to fall quick. There was outstanding defensive enchancment underneath Tuchel. He has harnessed their high quality in midfield and extensive positions to glorious impact too. However a key ingredient remains to be lacking. Throw in a aim scorer of Haaland’s stature and they might develop into tough for anybody to cease.