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Erling Haaland must answer Thomas Tuchel’s big question before Chelsea secures dream £68m deal

Chelsea are reportedly considering a move for Erling Haaland, but the Borussia Dortmund striker must answer Thomas Tuchel’s glaring question before submitting a bid.

The 21-year-old has established himself as one of the best players in the world, scoring 80 goals in 79 appearances since joining the German side.

Haaland’s dazzling displays have attracted the Blues’ attention ahead of the summer transfer window. According to the Metro, the European champions face stern competition for the Norwegian’s signature.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich have all been credited with an interest in striker’s services in what could be an era-defining signing.

Haaland, whose current contract at Dortmund expires in 2024, has a release clause that would allow him to leave at the end of this season for just £68m, as per Marca, making a potential deal all the sweeter.

However, despite the impulsive attraction of signing one of Europe’s leading number nines, Tuchel must ensure that the youngster is tactically compatible with his Chelsea side.

The Blues have suffered a similar fate in the past when signing players from the Bundesliga; Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, albeit amid a pandemic, struggled to hit the ground running and adjust to the philosophy of the Premier League.

However, while the physical demands may not trouble Haaland, Tuchel’s tactics might; the Chelsea boss has engineered a system at Stamford Bridge whereby most progressive passes are funnelled through the inside-right channel, as seen below.

While Romelu Lukaku may be a notorious operative in these spaces of the pitch, accommodating the two strikers wouldn’t be the Blues’ biggest problem.

However, what may pose an issue is Haaland’s attacking tendencies and preferences to operate in the inside-left channels.

The graphic above shows all 56 times Haaland has found the net in the Bundesliga since arriving two years ago. The majority of his success in front of goal is enjoyed from central or inside-left positions in the box.

The graphic above shows all 56 times Haaland has found the net in the Bundesliga since arriving two years ago. The majority of his success in front of goal is enjoyed from central or inside-left positions in the box.

Relating this narrative back to how Tuchel built Chelsea’s attack, the Norway international could struggle to integrate himself into the side if the German continues to operate the same system upon Haaland’s potential arrival.

There are many variables and other factors to consider – run types, low block, high block, expected threat, chance creation, and more, but the raw data shows that Haaland could likely be alienated.

On the contrary, Tuchel’s preferred avenue of attack down the inside-right channel suggests that he is looking for the progressive pass to be made and then pulled back across the goal where someone like Haaland could be waiting.

Equally, the 21-year-old’s goalscoring positions – on the face of it – allow him to coexist with Lukaku in a front two.

If Chelsea is serious about prising the Dortmund striker to Stamford Bridge, then Haaaland must prove to Tuchel that he is a dynamic finisher from both the left and the right.

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