Chelsea are growing increasingly confident of winning the race to sign Europe’s most in-demand striker, Erling Haaland, from Borussia Dortmund this summer.
The Norway international burst onto the scene with RB Salzburg during last season’s Champions League group stage and has since cemented his reputation as one of world football’s most prolific forwards after signing for Borussia Dortmund.
Manchester rivals City and United are attempting to position themselves to make moves this summer with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who coached the 20-year-old during the early stages of his career at Molde, still in touch with his compatriot.
United are likely to be working with a modest transfer budget, however, and would struggle to match any package their local rivals could present to Haaland, even if they were to secure Champions League qualification and boost their funds through player sales.
Even then, a new centre-back partner, ideally a left-sided one, represents Solskjaer’s priority, while a new central midfielder will be required should Paul Pogba be sold.
Real Madrid and Barcelona, meanwhile, are also likely to lack the financial wherewithal to recruit Haaland this summer, while Bayern Munich are not an option at this stage with Robert Lewandowksi’s form showing no sign of deteriorating.
Reports from Germany earlier this week claimed Haaland was less than receptive to the idea of joining Chelsea but, according to ESPN, the Premier League big-spenders believe they have several factors in their favour.
Having invested upwards of £200million last summer, Roman Abramovich is unlikely to curtail his spending especially if, as seems increasingly likely, Thomas Tuchel secures Champions League qualification.
Despite the raft of attacking options at his disposal, meanwhile, Tuchel is yet to settle on a first choice line leader and with doubts over the futures of Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud, there is likely to be a ready-made spot for Haaland to fill at Stamford Bridge as the focal point of a new-look attack.
City, too, are likely to be in the market for a successor to Sergio Aguero who has played only a bit-part role in their domestic dominance this season, but their eyes remain still largely fixed on potentially reuniting Lionel Messi with Pep Guardiola.