Chelsea's striker hunt: Four options Thomas Tuchel could consider after Romelu Lukaku transfer blow

·4-min read
Chelsea's striker hunt: Four transfer options Thomas Tuchel could consider after Romelu Lukaku blow
Chelsea's striker hunt: Four transfer options Thomas Tuchel could consider after Romelu Lukaku blow

Chelsea’s search for a new striker suffered an early blow on Wednesday night when Romelu Lukaku claimed he will stay at Inter Milan on Belgian television.

It remains to be seen whether or not Lukaku is true to his word, but the fact he revealed he has already spoken to incoming Inter manager Simone Inzaghi would suggest that he has thought this through.

Whether or not Inter’s financial situation means they would have to consider a bid for Lukaku, who would then potentially be forced to re-think his stance, is also unclear.

Lukaku had been viewed as the most realistic of Chelsea’s three main striker targets, who also include Erling Haaland and Harry Kane.

Borussia Dortmund have insisted they will not sell Haaland this summer after qualifying for the Champions League, while Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy will tell Antonio Conte that he is prepared to keep Kane as part of his bid to hire the Italian.

Manchester City v Chelsea - Pool via REUTERS
Manchester City v Chelsea - Pool via REUTERS

Even if Kane is to ultimately leave Spurs, then Chelsea is rated as the least likely of his potential destinations given the rivalry between the London clubs.

So where does that leave Chelsea? Kai Havertz scored the winning goal in the Champions League final and has been used as a false nine by head coach Thomas Tuchel, while there remains a feeling that Timo Werner will at some stage start to find the back of the net.

But with Olivier Giroud expected to leave at the end of his contract and Tammy Abraham, who was not even included in the Champions League final matchday squad, understandably keen to leave, Chelsea could be left short of out-and-out strikers.

Here, Telegraph Sport looks at some of the solutions that could be considered by Tuchel if Lukaku, Haaland and Kane all prove out of reach this summer.

Robert Lewandowski

The Polish striker shares the same agent as Tuchel and while Bayern Munich have insisted he is going nowhere, Lewandowski has claimed that he remains “open minded” over his future.

Lewandowski will turn 33 in August and may fancy one last big challenge in his career, but it is probably more likely at this stage that he remains at Bayern.

An incredible 41-goal Bundesliga haul last season, his best ever, would suggest Lewandowski is getting better with age and, even at this advanced stage of his career, he would surely offer Chelsea a guarantee of goals.

He has two years remaining on his Bayern contract, which means the German club may have to extend his deal to make sure he does not leave.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Tuchel revealed earlier this season that he remains in touch with Aubameyang and claimed the striker “will always be my player.”

Aubameyang suffered his most frustrating season yet at Arsenal and will be unhappy that the club missed out on European qualification.

Arsenal only gave their captain a new £350,000-a-week contract last summer, but there are already mumerings that the club would listen to offers from him.

Tuchel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in their Dortmund days - Getty Images
Tuchel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in their Dortmund days - Getty Images

Frank Lampard unsuccessfully tried to convince Chelsea to sign Aubameyang last summer, with the club believing that, given his age, the deal would be too expensive.

That may well remain the case, but Tuchel can point to the fact Aubameyang scored an incredible 79 goals in 95 games under him at Borussia Dortmund if he wants to pursue a deal.

Danny Ings

Southampton striker Ings is already thought to be on the radar of Manchester United, in case they cannot sign Kane, and more clubs may have to consider his merits if Kane, Haaland and Lukaku do not end up moving.

With just a year remaining on his Southampton contract, Ings may be allowed to leave for around £30million if one of the Premier League’s biggest clubs offer him a move.

Ings was unlucky to miss out on England’s European Championship squad, but his injury record counted against him and that may well put off Chelsea, or any other big clubs, given he will celebrate his 29th birthday next month.

The fact Ings is English would be helpful for Chelsea’s home-grown quota and, like Kane, he would provide proven Premier League pedigree.

Jadon Sancho

Unlike in the case of Haaland, Dortmund are open to offers for Sancho, who has long been a target of Manchester United and who Chelsea have considered in the past.

Tuchel wants a right-sided player, but had targeted somebody who could play at wing-back and fill in on the wing, hence his interest in Wolverhampton Wanderers star Adama Traore.

But Sancho could offer Tuchel a different type of goal threat, as he has shown an ability to hit the back of the net from the flanks during his time at Dortmund, scoring 16 goals in all competitions last season and 20 the previous campaign.

Tuchel, though, already has Werner, who has played wide, Havertz, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic, who Sancho effectively replaced at Dortmund, Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi competing for places on the flanks and in advanced positions behind a striker.

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