Romelu Lukaku was Chelsea’s second choice after Erling Haaland, and only Blues’ “perfect strategy” ensured they ended up with striker

It’s something we had always suspected, but now we know for sure – Chelsea had sounded out a deal for Erling Haaland long before they decided to move for Romelu Lukaku.

Fabrizio Romano gave a very in depth assessment of the situation in his exclusive interview with TalkChelsea this week, and he explained the chronology of what had gone down.

“They were trying for Haaland,” Romano explained.

“The expectation at Chelsea was that maybe the situation on price would change in July or August, with Dortmund changing their position knowing that in summer 2022 Haaland will have a release clause of €80m. So maybe they would be prepared to accept something around €120-125m. But this was not the case. Dortmund were never prepared to accept this kind of proposal. They weren’t willing to accept anything for less than €175-180M, and this is why they were never in advanced negotiations for Haaland.”

Once Chelsea understood that Dortmund weren’t budging, they had to move quickly to find their backup. As we’ve seen time and again with Marina Granovskaia, she gets things done when her work is cut out for her, as Romano explained:

“When they realised the situation was impossible to change, they decided to jump definitively on the Romelu Lukaku deal. But they were preparing this Lukaku deal for weeks, in a top secret way, with the player’s side and also with Inter, who had been expecting Lukaku to stay. Chelsea did very well to go top secret with Lukaku while they were working on a Haaland deal, which wasn’t easy to do in the middle of the window. This is why in 48 hours they had an agreement with Lukaku, and then the negotiations with Inter took a week. I think it was a perfect strategy, and not an easy one.”

We will have to wait until a few years have passed before we really definitively know whether Chelsea made the right call here. Ultimately though, it’s nice to see that the club aren’t held to ransom by other teams and agents making massive demands. We’re sure Haaland will go to a top club this summer, and he will almost certainly score a lot of goals.

But at what transfer fee, and with how much going to his agent? Chelsea may have missed out on a top young talent, but they at least maintained their reputation as a club who won’t be pushed around in the market.

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