Chelsea: The first six fixtures of the 2021/22 Premier League
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Chelsea have doubled down on their interest in Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland this summer. The club lost out in the chase for full-back Achraf Hakimi, so now all attentions are on the Norweigan striker.
Blues director Marina Granovskaia and club owner Roman Abramovich are determined to back manager Thomas Tuchel in the transfer market this summer, after the German coach steered the club to a Champions League win inside his first year in charge at the club.
And a world-class striker is Tuchel’s big request, with Erling Haaland at the very top of that wish list.
Haaland, who scored 27 goals in 28 games in the Bundesliga last season, has been heavily linked with a transfer this summer, with a whole host of Europe’s biggest clubs interested.
Real Madrid, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Man Utd have all been mooted as potential destinations for the hotshot.
But the Chelsea chiefs are confident of coaxing Haaland to west London to lead the line for the European champions.
Part of the reason for Chelsea’s confidence is the player’s infatuation with the Champions League – a trophy that Tuchel’s side now hold.
“I have been thinking about the Champions League my whole life, wanting to play there,” Haaland revealed earlier this summer.
“It gives me one per cent extra motivation when I go out on the pitch with the anthem.
“That’s my big dream: to win the Champions League one day. Hopefully I can lift that trophy and that really would be, well, amazing.”
Chelsea already have an abundance of attacking talent in their squad, but Tuchel isn’t averse to adding new faces to the side this summer.
“That always brings new energy, new guys who question the old beliefs, who challenge everybody in the training and in matches, so I think it [would be] a good thing,” Tuchel said.
“We don’t need another seven and another complete turnover because it’s also our job to keep on improving. We have still a young squad and it’s not about stealing from them the chance to prove it again, that they are capable of growing and evolving.
“But we have some ideas, of course, to make the group stronger, and I think this can always be a positive thing to challenge all of us.”
Haaland’s arrival would likely spell the end for Olivier Giroud at Chelsea, with the veteran French striker already heavily linked with a move to AC Milan this summer.
Giroud, 34, insists that he is still capable of performing at the top, even if he is surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.
“I’m not finished, far from it,” he told Le Figaro.
“Count on me, grandpa is not dead! I’m almost 35 but have the hunger of a 20-year-old guy.”
Whether it’s with Giroud or Haaland or neither up top, Chelsea will start next season with a home game against Crystal Palace before a tough opening run of matches.
Tuchel’s side face two more London derbies early in the campaign, Arsenal away on the second weekend and Spurs away in mid-September, with fixtures against Liverpool and Manchester also coming in the opening six rounds of the season.
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