Chelsea needs a true centre-forward for the upcoming 2021/22 campaign. That much is certain. What is much less certain is who the Blues will ultimately pull the trigger on and bring into the club ahead of the season.
After a solid fourth-place finish in the Premier League, an FA Cup final appearance, and then that small match in which Chelsea ended up bringing home their second European Cup in club history, an addition of a star player seems likely.
Names like Romelu Lukaku, Erling Haaland, and yes, Tottenham's Harry Kane have all been tossed around in speculation or as direct links to Chelsea. Yet, some clearly hold more water than others.
In the case of Lukaku, it has been suggested that Chelsea has already offered the striker personal terms. Despite the waffling from Inter Milan on Lukaku's status, the Belgian is fully aware of what he can earn at Chelsea if he or Inter change their mind. However, it appears that Lukaku is merely a backup plan for manager Thomas Tuchel.
Where it gets really interesting is the debate between Haaland and Kane. Now, some would say it isn't really a debate. At just 20-years old, Haaland is seven years younger than Kane, and has proven he is a world-class player. The Norwegian's 41 goals in 41 appearances for Bundesliga-side Borussia Dortmund is incredibly impressive and would with out a doubt help fill the void that Chelsea has recently had at the top of its formation.
Yet, the Bundesliga is not the Premier League. Unfortunately, Timo Werner has been a shining example of what a player's performance is in Germany doesn't always directly translate to play in England. But, Haaland is different, plays the centre-forward position with much more natural talent, and seems to have a completely different demeanour and level of confidence about him than Werner.
In summary, Haaland would make for a good fit at Chelsea, helps fill the glaring void at one of the most important positions, and has a level of swagger about him that fits well with the champion mindset that the Blues are building. But, is he the best fit?
Of the three 'big' names being connected to Chelsea, the one that appears to be the best fit is also the least likely to be sold to the Blues: Harry Kane. Currently the Tottenham Hotspur talisman, it seems unlikely that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy would sell Kane to Chelsea. But, weirder things have happened, just think back to the year of 2020.
Speaking of the global pandemic spurred on by COVID-19, that very same pandemic has caused massive financial distress across the football world, to include Tottenham. If there was ever a deal to happen between the two sides, it's this transfer window simply due to cash flow. Or lack thereof in Tottenham's case.
Now the question everyone has been asking themselves while reading: why Kane, who is seven-years older than Haaland?
Let's start with the tangibles- an analytical look between the two players, looking into the overall attacking prowess of the two strikers by looking at their attacking, passing, and shooting performances.
In overall attacking performances, Haaland was a part of more goals, however, Kane led in nearly every other category while looking at every performance. This means that Kane is more involved with the buildup of the play to include dribbling in space, commanding space, as well as overall command of the offense.
Additionally, Kane is a far better passer, which as the author points out, means that Kane is able to bring more versatility to the side than Haaland other than just directly scoring goals.
That being said, Haaland is elite at scoring. One of the best in the world. He also has a pace that Kane can't quite compete with, which could fit well with a current Chelsea attack that focuses on breaks and quick strikes (mainly due to a lack of an actual goal scorer up top).
Overall, Kane is a proven commodity and would gel instantly with Chelsea. His wage demands would be less than that of Haaland, a subject that has already drawn immense speculation as to how it would affect the rest of the dressing room and future wage demands at the club.
Now for the intangibles.
One of the biggest reasons that Chelsea was able to accomplish what they did this past season was equal parts consistent veteran leadership and play, coupled with timely performances from younger players with immense talent. Kane would walk in with the ability to be a top-performer at a position of need, while also helping take on a leadership position on and off the pitch.
Haaland, on the other hand, would have to adapt to a new system, new country and league, and does not bring the veteran presence or leadership ability that seasons of experience and national captaincy have created.
Kane, in this sense, has by far the upper hand in what he can provide to a club, especially one like Chelsea in which so many of the talented players are still so young in their footballing careers. Adding another one in Haaland, despite his prolific goal scoring abilities, adds too many factors to the already abundant unknowns.
Finally, what of the price point? While reports and rumours are numerous and all are filled with speculative numbers, one thing is for certain: neither will come cheap.
Many reports suggest it would take an offer of £150-200 million for Dortmund to be persuaded to sell Haaland. That price tag would easily break Chelsea's transfer record and could potentially break Neymar's record-transfer fee to PSG. However, it's not a number that the Chelsea board or owner have scoffed at. The money isn't an issue.
In the case of Kane, Manchester City has already offered £138 million as well as some package of player or players according to Fabrizio Romano. Chelsea could counter that by offering a similar price point but also including Tammy Abraham as a replacement for Kane. In doing so, Chelsea would be offloading a player already on his way out the door and saving some money in wages to offset Kane's acquisition.
Kane has made it relatively clear that he wants to win trophies and that is not possible at Tottenham, at least not in the foreseeable future. It almost seems like a given he leaves Spurs this summer. Would he play for Chelsea? Money talks and so does winning.
While Haaland could be an easier acquisition, solely because he would just cost money and would be coming from a club that isn't a bitter cross-town rival, Kane could provide more than what the Norwegian could at the price each will command, respectively.
One only needs to look past the raw numbers to see how Kane could take Chelsea to the next level.