Erling Haaland: Chelsea growing more confident of winning transfer race - Transfer Notebook
Erling Haaland's future destination is one of the hottest topics in football and in what could be a frenzied race for his signature, Chelsea have been making some quiet progress, writes Dean Jones in his latest Transfer Notebook. Meanwhile, there's news on Bayern Munich and Max Aarons, and a new potential suitor for Jesse Lingard...
Scorer Erling Haaland (R) of Dortmund celebrates his teams fourth goal with Jude Bellingham (L) during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund at Veltins-Arena
Chelsea are becoming increasingly hopeful about their dream of landing Erling Haaland this summer.
Borussia Dortmund face a fight to hold on to Haaland and suspect the interest in their star striker will outweigh that of Jadon Sancho. Real Madrid are very keen while Premier League sides Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United are all in the picture and monitoring the situation.
However, Chelsea have been quietly making progress behind the scenes to show influential figures close to Haaland that their project will be worth strong consideration when decision time comes.
Their aggressive spend last summer, combined with the appointment of Thomas Tuchel recently, is a sign of their ambition and the club intend to continue to make strong moves in the market over the next two years as they see an opportunity to capitalise on uncertain times at other clubs.
As champions Liverpool now look to a rebuild there is a feeling Chelsea could leapfrog them - as well as the likes of Manchester United, Leicester City and Tottenham - to become Man City's most serious title contenders in future seasons.
Haaland is unsure what his next step will be after Dortmund and sources have always indicated that he will only move to England when he feels the right club at the right moment comes along.
His €75 million release clause at Dortmund does not kick in until 2022 but he may become available this summer, even though the club do not want to sell. They are currently outside the Champions League spots and qualification for Europe’s top competition is crucial - though the same would apply to Chelsea, who would need to finish in the top four in order to sign him.
Chelsea want a new centre-forward as neither Tammy Abraham nor Olivier Giroud are going to be the long-term solution and the club believe they are slowly making progress to convince Haaland, via intermediaries and agent Mina Raiola, that Stamford Bridge could be the place for him to be the main man for a side challenging domestically and in the Champions League.
Their strongest challenge is likely to come from City, who have had him in their sights for the past two years as the perfect striker to help them transition to a new era beyond Sergio Aguero.
Bayern favourites for £40m Aarons
Max Aarons of Norwich City reacts to a missed opportunity during the Sky Bet Championship match between Swansea City and Norwich City at Liberty Stadium on February 05, 2021 in Swansea
Image credit: Getty Images
Max Aarons has the green light to leave Norwich City this summer and there is a growing chance he makes a move to Bayern Munich.
Barcelona tried to sign him last year but Bayern are continuing to monitor him ahead of the next window. Norwich have accepted that Aarons will move on in order to fulfil his huge potential in the game, and the club have a policy of not standing in the way of any exceptional talent making a transfer when the right time - and fee - comes along.
That time is coming as Aarons, 21, is widely regarded as one of the best young full-backs in the game and it is expected that Bayern will lead the race for him - despite interest from clubs in England. The player is believed to be very open to the potential of moving abroad and will now wait to see if a spot opens up for him.
Benjamin Pavard is currently Bayern’s first-choice right-back and the club are keen for fresh competition in the area, particularly as Joshua Kimmich is now transitioning to a full-time central midfielder and Bouna Sarr, who is Pavard's understudy, has been disappointing and is very likely to be moved on.
During his time at Norwich, Aarons has racked up over 7,000 minutes of league action - more than other top English players in his position had managed by the same stage of their career, including Kyle Walker, Reece James, Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Barcelona’s summer offer for Aarons never led to serious progress as their proposal came at the wrong time, but this summer Bayern could move for him at exactly the right time. It is expected to take an offer upwards of £40 million to sign him.
Leicester emerge as Lingard suitors
West Ham United's English midfielder Jesse Lingard celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur at The London Stadium