Tammy Abraham is reportedly drawing serious interest from Arsenal, so the exit rumors could only mean that Thomas Tuchel and his team have a back-up plan. Chelsea has recently looked to the Bundesliga to replenish its ranks through Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Antonio Rudiger and Tuchel, who have all had experience in the league. If the Blues do sell Abraham, they need to continue that trend by targeting VfB Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic.
Chelsea’s woes in front of the goal last season are no secret. Jorginho ended the season as the club’s top scorer in the league with seven goals, all from the penalty spot. Abraham and Timo Werner managed six goals a piece with Mason Mount rounding out top scorers list with five goals. Werner was brought in from Leipzig, but he was more miss than hit, and Tuchel seemingly came to the conclusion that his compatriot isn’t suited to play as a lone striker in the Premier League.
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Chelsea—now having learned from Werner’s difficulties—is targeting another striker, preferably one that fits the same mold as now-former target man Olivier Giroud. Kalajdzic stands at a massive 6-foot-7 (two meters) tall, so he fits the bill. The Austrian finished last season with 16 goals in 33 matches, a ratio of roughly one goal every other game. He also had five assists, which together with the goals adds up to an impressive output for a mid-table Stuttgart side. Physically, he is the reincarnation of Peter Crouch. He boasts strong hold-up play and is a lethal finisher. The only downside is his lack of pace, but no one should ask a battering ram to function as a syringe. If Tuchel is indeed interested in Kalajdzic, he knows exactly what he will get in the forward.
The striker was involved in Austria’s run in the recently completed Euro 2020 championships, where he became the first player in the tournament to score on Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma. The tournament helped raise his profile outside the Bundesliga, and it is reported that Stuttgart would be willing to let him leave for about £34.4 million. However, former Arsenal and Dortmund guru Sven Mislintat is now the sporting director and is known to be a tough negotiator. He was recently quoted saying that Kalajdzic has spent the entire summer training in Stuttgart’s training kit.
Marina Granovskaia has proven time and time again to be a shrewd negotiator, but many would question the wisdom of spending that much money on a player with just one productive season under his belt. It is clear that Chelsea’s dream signing is Erling Haaland, but Dortmund has not given an inch in its insistence that its young striker is not for sale. As fate has it, the German club left it late to qualify for the Champions League last season and its financial coffers are full from the £72 million Manchester United paid it for Jadon Sancho.
Romelu Lukaku is also seemingly out of reach for the Blues, so there aren’t many upgrades for Chelsea to pursue. Alternatively, Armando Broja—who just signed a new five-year deal at the club—may get a bigger role as understudy to Havertz and Werner, as the club waits to try for Haaland in a year. Kalajdzic may be a safe bet, but it’s one Chelsea does not have to take.
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