Chelsea: The first six fixtures of the 2021/22 Premier League
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Thomas Tuchel has reportedly given Chelsea’s transfer chief Marina Granovskaia an alternative option for a new striker. The Blues are known to want Erling Haaland this summer, but talks are making slow progress and Tuchel is apparently keen for the director to explore other options instead, including Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Granovskaia’s ruthless spending last year saw the club bring in Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech before many of Chelsea’s Premier League rivals had even got the ball rolling on their transfer window business.
But the 2021 transfer operations aren’t progressing so quickly for Roman Abramovich’s right-hand woman.
Haaland is the top transfer target, but would cost a huge fee and any signing would involve protracted transfer negotiations.
So Chelsea boss Tuchel is also open to the club signing Everton forward Calvert-Lewin instead, according to reports in Italy.
The 24-year-old scored 16 Premier League goals for the Toffees last season, and would represent a very different strike option compared to Chelsea’s existing forwards.
Tuchel may have won the Champions League with his current Chelsea squad, but the Blues boss has made no secret of his desire to strengthen the group.
“Two or three [signings] could be very, very good. It’s a constant thing to never deny change,” Tuchel revealed recently.
“That always brings new energy, new guys who question the old beliefs, who challenge everybody in the training and in matches, so I think it’s a good thing.”
“We don’t need another seven and another complete turnover … But we have some ideas, of course, to make the group stronger.”
However, securing Calvert-Lewin’s signature may not be all that straightforward.
The Everton striker was reportedly interested with a move away from Merseyside earlier this summer, but that was before the club appointed Rafa Benitez as manager.
And the Toffees squad are believed to be excited about working with a coach with such strong pedigree.
“You have seen his career,” Calvert-Lewin’s Everton and England team-mate Jordan Pickford said this week. “The amount of trophies he has won, his desire to win matches every time.
“He rang me, it was good to speak to him. He said, ‘Enjoy the tournament, do well for England and I’ll see you when you get back’.”
Calvert-Lewin is part of England’s Euro 2020 squad, but was one of three players left out of the squad entirely for the 2-0 win over Germany earlier this week.
The 24-year-old was reported to be hugely disappointed by the decision, but England boss Gareth Southgate has explained his rationale.
“With forward players, we’ve got so many attacking options. It’s hard to give them all the love they need,” Southgate said. “As a forward you need to feel that love.
“They’re accepting and understanding of needing to be patient, needing to wait for their moments right across the board with Marcus [Rashford], with Jadon [Sancho], with Dominic, with Jack [Grealish].
“They’ve really understood and sacrificed themselves for the group. It’s only by doing that you get to the stages we are.”
Whoever Chelsea do sign will start next season with a home game against Crystal Palace on the weekend of August 14 before a tough opening run of matches.
Tuchel’s side face two more London derbies early in the campaign, Arsenal away on the second weekend and Spurs away in mid-September, with fixtures against Liverpool and Manchester also coming in the opening six rounds of the season.
Clubs can still do business beyond the start of the season this year, with the window shutting at midnight on August 31.
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