Chelsea’s attacking options may need revision in the summer transfer window and could include a reportedly disgruntled Tammy Abraham heading out and Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund in. As it becomes increasingly clear that Chelsea’s attacking deficiencies had nothing to do with former head coach Frank Lampard, it will now be up to Thomas Tuchel to remedy the situation after this summer’s transfer window or his tenure at Chelsea will be roughly the same as Lampard’s, 18 months and out, as is the norm for the Blues’ managers.
Neither Lampard nor Tuchel, in his first month of managing the Blues, unlocked the secret to unleashing the formidable Chelsea attack (on paper) on almost any top opponents. The issue remains a conundrum that Lampard was unable to iron out and Tuchel looks equally incapable to-date of deciphering either. Recent reports that Tammy Abraham is not happy with his playing situation at Chelsea have enlivened media discussions about numerous Premier League teams who may have an interest in the Chelsea goal-scoring No. 9. Why wouldn’t they?
Abraham has 12 goals in all competitions this season but only six in the Premier League where the Blues have gone a-begging for goals from their forwards seemingly for months. Yet, Abraham has had to split starting duties with both the ineffective to-date center-forward/striker Timo Werner and effective game-winning scorer, Olivier Giroud. That situation has left the 23-year-old striker reportedly unhappy with his pitch-time and looking to move on from the Blues in the summer. Clubs like Aston Villa and West Ham United have been cited as possible interested parties in the media. If Chelsea’s reported interest in Haaland is real, then these two teams cited as possible landing places for Abraham may provide an opportunity for the Blues to improve their side while also while the others get a bonafide Premier League striker in return.
Chelsea’s strategy in each case might work as follows. For West Ham, if Chelsea’s desire to re-acquire Declan Rice as a future captain and midfield anchor remains post-Lampard (which is questionable), the swap of Abraham would dramatically reduce the cash cost to the Blues. Conversely, an outright sale should yield no less than 35-40M pounds to help defray the astronomical cost of obtaining Haaland. In the case of Aston Villa, a similar scenario could ensue with Chelsea sending Abraham to Villa along with currently on loan to Villa, Ross Barkley to secure the services of star Jack Grealish. A win-win situation. Grealish could be just the player Chelsea needs to help pull the disjointed pieces together into a cohesive whole. Again. alternatively, Chelsea could just sell Abraham to Villa maybe along with Barkley for 50 or 55M pounds or so, once again to help pay the freight for Haaland.
One thing is certain, if the Chelsea board has set its sights on Haaland, it’s going to cost a bundle, and there will have to be a major outflow of players to help finance that deal. But fortunately for the Blues, there are a number of players on hand to help do just that. Jorginho is one who could fetch a tidy sum of maybe 40M pounds for one. Added to Abraham, if an outright sale at 40M or so were accomplished, the club would be a good way toward paying the freight even for Haaland. Add, fringe players like Emerson, Alonso, and the sale of a central defender, e.g., Kurt Zouma or Andreas Christensen, depending on Tuchel’s preference (which seems clearly to be Christensen at present), will add more funds for the Haaland deal. Maybe another 40-50M pounds. And there are other options as well that also offer the potential for significant sales value.
Those are just a couple of scenarios in which an Abraham swap or sale and a follow-up Chelsea move(s) could unfold. None are likely. Yet, the best alternative (absent a move for Haaland by Chelsea) is for Abraham to remain a Blue. He can continue to grow as a player, share time with the ageless Giroud whose minutes must be managed astutely, and ultimately assume the No. 1 spot when Giroud either leaves the club or retires in a year or two. We’ll see.
Tuchel will have a say in what eventuates (for a while at least!) and the results of all this maneuvering (and more, of course) may well determine if he can surpass the 18 months or so tenures of many Chelsea managers in the past. One thing is certain, if more goal-scoring doesn’t eventuate both before and after the summer window, his tenure will be of the shorter variety.