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1 minute ago, Beigl said:

Would have taken Verratti some years ago, but not anymore.  Currently injured aswell. Don´t want to sound too much like Mourinho, but we already lack height in midfield so if there are other younger, less injury prone options on the market..

Another great concern...

My option is Franck Kessie but would welcome verratti here with open arms just concern about his injury...

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14 minutes ago, Alabama said:

How is the recent injury record?

Hope there is improvement...

Isnt he injured now? Think so

11 minutes ago, Beigl said:

Would have taken Verratti some years ago, but not anymore.  Currently injured aswell. Don´t want to sound too much like Mourinho, but we already lack height in midfield so if there are other younger, less injury prone options on the market..

Younger less injury prone is good but must be of quality too, maybe Camavinga

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Vesper said:

did anyone see this?

Benjamin Mendy (the Citeh LB)

 

Probably just a mistake, Ben Mendy is bang average i refuse to believe Tuchel want to buy him

Edited by Blues Forever
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Vlahovic, Isak, Malen… Bamford?! Who are the best Plan Bs to Erling Haaland?

https://theathletic.com/2479067/2021/03/27/vlahovic-isak-malen-bamford-who-are-the-best-plan-bs-to-erling-haaland/

Vlahovic, Isak, Malen... Bamford?! Who are the best Plan Bs to Erling  Haaland? – The Athletic

 

Everybody wants Erling Haaland. Whether every top club gazing hungrily in the Borussia Dortmund striker’s direction can actually afford to sign him this summer is another question.

When transfer fee, wages and the cost of superagent Mino Raiola’s involvement are factored in, the total outlay could find its way north of £200 million. During a pandemic that has caused clubs huge financial damage.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea are the English sides with the resources to do a hypothetical deal of that size, while Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Juventus also want to be in the conversation.

Raiola has claimed, somewhat optimistically, that 10 clubs around Europe are in the running for the 20-year-old Norwegian. The list of serious suitors is likely to be a lot shorter, but it makes financial sense for Dortmund to encourage a bidding war at the end of this season rather than wait to sell in the summer of 2022, when Haaland’s value will be capped by the activation of a €75 million (£64.1 million) release clause in his contract.

Whatever the eventual price, the club who succeed in convincing Haaland to continue his record-breaking career with them will consider the deal a more than worthy investment. But what about the suitors who fail? Only one can sign the striker who might end up dominating the next decade of European football, and the others will have to pivot to other plans. City, Chelsea and United all need another quality No 9 option regardless, so it would be wise for their wish-lists to be more than one name long.

In consultation with our analytics team and Tifo Football, The Athletic has compiled a list of alternative strikers who fit a similar profile or could be ready to step up to a top club, and might reasonably be available this summer.

But first, a disclaimer: no one is claiming any of the names below are or will be as good as Haaland, whose staggering body of work at 20 suggests he is a generational goalscoring talent, they are simply strikers who each possess qualities that might prove valuable to any top club that misses out on their top target this summer.

With that in mind, let’s proceed…


Haaland’s game is astonishingly minimalist. He is as pure a goalscorer as they come and while he links up well with Dortmund’s other attackers and midfielders, his energy on the pitch is almost entirely reserved for getting himself into scoring positions in the penalty area.

Smarterscout is a tool that uses advanced metrics to give players a rating from zero to 99 based on either how often they perform a specific action compared to others playing their position, or how effective they are at it.

Haaland’s statistical profile on smarterscout looks like late-career Cristiano Ronaldo has somehow been reincarnated as a hulking blond Norwegian nearly half his age, only with much less of an aerial threat than you might think given his size.

pizza_erling_haaland_ST_2020-21-1.png

It makes sense for clubs interested in Haaland to look first for other strikers with a similar statistical profile.

How about Alexander Isak? A rare prospect who didn’t show his best qualities at Dortmund, where he started one Bundlesiga game in 18 months, the 21-year-old Swede is enjoying a breakthrough season in his second year at Real Sociedad. His tally of 12 goals in 24 La Liga appearances is good rather than spectacular, but none of them have come from the penalty spot. His non-penalty expected goals (npxG) per 90 minutes this season isn’t as far below the Norwegian as it might first appear; 0.63 to Haaland’s 0.76.

Isak is just under 6ft 4in tall but relatively slight and therefore, like Haaland, is not a consistent aerial force despite his frame. His age means he has plenty of time to round out that aspect of his game, and there’s plenty else to recommend him right now. He offers a similar penalty box threat, links play well and is an unusually skilful ball carrier for his size, as well as being more impactful when his team doesn’t have the ball…

pizza_alexander_isak_ST_2020-21.png

The biggest issue with Isak is that any analysis of him as an elite striker in the making is based on a relatively small sample size.

He scored 13 goals in 16 Eredivisie appearances on loan at Willem II from Dortmund for the second half of 2018-19, but he has less than a full season of shining in one of Europe’s top five leagues to his name. The €70 million (£59.8 million) buyout clause in his contract makes him cheaper than Haaland would be this summer, but still a significant gamble for a club seeking the finished article.

A left-field name on this list happens to have one of the most similar statistical profiles to Haaland: Patrick Bamford, who is finally fulfilling the potential that convinced Chelsea to sign him nine years ago, when he was 18, in Marcelo Bielsa’s free-flowing Leeds United system.

pizza_patrick_bamford_ST_2020-21.png

His 13 non-penalty goals in the Premier League this season have come from the highest npxG in the division (13.4), and the only regular starters who have averaged more shots per 90 minutes than his 3.3 are Harry Kane (3.8) and Kevin De Bruyne (3.7). He is also an asset to Leeds without the ball, leading the fierce Bielsa press from the front and creating opposition turnovers more frequently than Haaland or Isak do.

In reality, it would be a huge surprise if any top club made a serious approach for Bamford this summer. Before this one, his best tally for goals in a single campaign was 17 with Middlesbrough in the 2014-15 Championship, and his reputation was as a good second-tier striker until Bielsa got hold of him three years ago. How do you separate his success from the system he plays in? And beyond the questions about whether he would be this good in another context, there is also the fact that, at 27 (turning 28 less than a month into next season), he is less likely to have significant room to grow his game. After what he has done this season, Leeds might well value him more highly than any club hoping to buy him.

OK, so how about the striker who has scored as many Bundesliga goals this season as Haaland has?

Andre Silva sits level with Haaland on 21 goals in 24 appearances for Eintracht Frankfurt; only Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich has scored more. Silva’s npxG per 90 minutes of 0.59 stands up well in comparison to other names in this list despite six of his goals coming from the penalty spot, and his overall contribution with and without the ball profiles well…

pizza_andre_silva_ST_2020-21.png

Silva isn’t quite as relentless a penalty-box presence as Haaland but his smart, sharp runs get him into scoring positions frequently and once there, he is capable of converting clinically with either foot or his head. Like Haaland and Lewandowski, the Portugal international is outperforming his npxG of 13.4, which reflects well on his finishing (although few players outperform their xG for a whole career), and this is already his best scoring season as a professional. In fact, since the start of 2020, he has scored 36 goals in 52 appearances for club and country across all competitions.

That is a big enough sample size, albeit disrupted by the pandemic shutdown, to suggest Silva is on more than a hot streak. It has taken him time to rebuild the momentum in his career following an ill-fated move from Porto to AC Milan in the summer of 2017 but, now 25, he appears fully formed and ready for a bigger stage. The only thing that might work against him is the recent example of Luka Jovic’s struggles at Real Madrid after enjoying a similarly prolific scoring run with Frankfurt (where he has now returned on loan from Madrid).

Another 25-year-old striker building his reputation in Germany after a frustrating time in Serie A is Patrik Schick, the man in whom Bayer Leverkusen reinvested a significant chunk of the money Chelsea paid them for Kai Havertz last summer.

Schick, an imposing figure in the air at almost 6ft 2in, offers more of a target-man presence up front – qualities that made him an effective foil for Timo Werner last season at RB Leipzig. His relatively modest return of eight goals (none of them penalties) becomes more impressive when you consider that only 15 of his 21 Bundesliga appearances for Leverkusen have been starts, giving him an npxG per 90 minutes of 0.60.

pizza_patrik_schick_ST_2020-21.png

Beyond his threat in the final third, Schick profiles as a well-rounded modern striker, capable of holding the ball up, bringing others into play and leading a team press. The problem is the 23-cap Czech Republic international simply doesn’t have the raw goal return that Europe’s elite clubs generally look for in their strikers; he is still trying to do better than the 11 goals he scored in his Serie A debut campaign with Sampdoria four years ago.

Dusan Vlahovic has already surpassed that total with Fiorentina this season. The tall, bustling 21-year-old Serb turned heads around Europe a fortnight ago by capping a hat-trick against Benevento with a curling shot into the top corner from 25 yards but he generally does his damage in much closer proximity to the six-yard box. He is also, like Schick, a No 9 more in the target-man mould:

pizza_dusan_vlahovic_ST_2020-21.png

Three of Vlahovic’s 12 league goals this season have come from the penalty spot and his npxG per 90 minutes of 0.46 is one of the less impressive in this list, but he is only just emerging as an elite prospect.

His muscular, at times abrasive, style might one day fit particularly well at Chelsea, whose fans idolised Didier Drogba and Diego Costa, but it seems too soon to talk about him as a serious immediate target for any club with aspirations to challenge for the Premier League and Champions League.

Rounding off the list are two exciting Dutch talents.

Donyell Malen has established himself as one of the most dangerous forwards in the Eredivisie over the past two years, scoring 11 goals (two of them penalties) in 14 appearances before knee surgery ended his 2019-20 season in the December and 15 non-penalties in 26 so far in this one. He combines speed, sharp movement, skilled dribbling and poacher’s instincts, can score with either foot and only turned 22 in January.

pizza_donyell_malen_ST_2020-21.png

Then there is Myron Boadu, scorer of 12 non-penalty goals in 25 Eredivisie appearances for AZ Alkmaar this season.

Just two months into his twenties, Boadu excels at dropping deep or drifting wide to contribute to his team’s build-up play, but also has the speed to play on the shoulder of the last defender and take up good positions in the penalty area.

pizza_myron_boadu_ST_2020-21.png

He is well on course to beat the 14 league goals he scored in 24 appearances in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season, and could already be good enough to shine on a bigger stage. No offence to the good people of Alkmaar.


It’s impossible to ignore the fact that all of the names listed above are at least a level below Haaland in terms of the body of work he has already put together at RB Salzburg and now Dortmund. But, of course they are; he’s special, and that’s why the stakes are so high for all of the clubs trying to sign him this summer – he is the only sure thing in a transfer market riven with as much risk as promise.

The other question the Manchester clubs and Chelsea need to ask themselves is whether any of the possible alternatives represent a meaningful improvement on what they already possess. None of them have a Haaland on their books, but all already have talented strikers who contribute different types of value to their teams, and finding an upgrade for a top-level team is rarely straightforward.

City manager Pep Guardiola can already call on Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero, who is currently set to be out of contract this summer and might actually make more sense as an alternative target for a club such as Chelsea if he is still physically capable of performing at near-prime level (he turns 33 in June).

pizza_sergio_aguero_ST_2019-20-1.png

Jesus is an unusual striker whose goal return hasn’t justified the excitement that greeted his arrival from Brazilian club Palmeiras in January 2017, but his remarkable ability to press and defend from the front makes him uniquely suited to Guardiola’s style of play.

pizza_gabriel_jesus_ST_2020-21.png

Anthony Martial is a divisive figure among Manchester United fans and his tally of four goals in 22 Premier League appearances this season is seriously underwhelming, but his talent is not in question. His speed, skill level on the ball and intelligence in linking up with Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood is also a significant part of why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team are so slick and dangerous in transition situations.

pizza_anthony_martial_ST_2020-21.png

Chelsea’s need for a truly elite goalscorer has been most glaring this season, in large part because of the struggles of Werner and Tammy Abraham. Olivier Giroud is a) out of contract this summer and b) 35 in September but in Abraham, they have a young No 9 who, last season, was scoring from open play at a comparable rate to Kane when he was the same age. The 23-year-old’s goal threat may have been far less consistent this season…

pizza_tammy_abraham_ST_2020-21-1.png

…but his profile last season indicated a talented, improving goalscorer who provided a significant asset to his team when they were out of possession.

pizza_tammy_abraham_ST_2019-20.png

The club who successfully persuade Haaland to join them can probably consider their No 9 spot sorted until the day he leaves them.

For those who lose in one of the most hotly-anticipated transfer battles of recent years, there will be no simple Plan B.

 

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1 hour ago, Blues Forever said:

Probably just a mistake, Ben Mendy is bang average i refuse to believe Tuchel want to buy him

James made him look like he was running the clay and James is not exactly a Werner,  when it comes to pace. 

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Just now, chippy said:

James made him look like he was running thru clay and James is not exactly a Werner,  when it comes to pace. 

 

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I read some rumours about Sandro possibility, I know he had a disastrous season but Alonso for Sandro we wouldn't have to spend any money.

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Just now, R2D2 said:

I read some rumours about Sandro possibility, I know he had a disastrous season but Alonso for Sandro we wouldn't have to spend any money.

No need, just promote Maatsen or keep Alonso.

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Posted (edited)

I hope people are shitposting when they say we already have to many attackers, one of the most disjointed attack in football with zero creativity and duds like Ziyech and Jorginho.

Edited by R2D2
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8 minutes ago, R2D2 said:

I hope people are shitposting when they say we already have to many attackers, one of the most disjointed attack in football with zero creativity and duds like Ziyech and Jorginho.

even if we bring halaand or lukaku they arent going to score alot with this players around 

 

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2 minutes ago, Kunka21 said:

even if we bring halaand or lukaku they arent going to score alot with this players around 

 

Need someone like Sancho who can actually create unlike that fraud Ziyech for starters.

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Harry Kane. Forget the unwritten rule of not doing business with Levy. Break the bank, use dead Abraham. Just do anything to get here Harry Kane.

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Posted (edited)

We need at least 3-4 players in the summer to challenge City. Getting ST, DM, and creative player should be the main priority.

Edited by Blues Forever
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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Milan said:

Harry Kane. Forget the unwritten rule of not doing business with Levy. Break the bank, use dead Abraham. Just do anything to get here Harry Kane.

Kane would be a fool to join Chelsea. He would certainly have the option of several equally attractive clubs so does not need all of the crap Spurs fans would drop on his head if he came here. He would take dogs abuse from them and pick up death threats by the sack load. Probably for the rest of his life. I'd love Kane to be our CF but I would not advise him to do this to himself and his family. 

Edited by OhForAGreavsie
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I get champions league being a pull for players..but you can go out the group stage! Might only play a few games then Europa. Get players probably don't look at it like that but nothing is a given..and plus Europa..how exotic!

Not that in it yet...hopefully all comes together. Cause we need help for next season!

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3 hours ago, OhForAGreavsie said:

Kane would be a fool to join Chelsea. He would certainly have the option of several equally attractive clubs so does not need all of the crap Spurs fans would drop on his head if he came here. He would take dogs abuse from them and pick up death threats by the sack load. Probably for the rest of his life. I'd love Kane to be our CF but I would not advise him to do this to himself and his family. 

Will he have those options though?

The likelihood is the only other possibilities for him would be United, City and PSG. 

United have just resigned Cavani, and I think will want Greenwood to play a more prominent role as the centre forward next season. There priority I think will be Sancho.

I'm not sure if City would move for Kane. They've made an effort in the past to not go crazy high with their transfer fees and the way Pep has been talking recently suggests they may not buy a striker.

PSG could be the most realistic option and probably Spurs favoured one if they sell but would Kane want to move abroad?

There is a very real possibility that Chelsea are the only ones that make a proper play for him. If that was to happen, it would be interesting to know whether Kane would push for the move. You're right in what you've said above, but will he be the type to want to look back on his career at the end and simply be happy he stayed loyal to Spurs but won nothing? This isn't even like the case of Gerrard who at least won a few trophies in his time at Liverpool.

Kane may have no alternative but to make a hard decision that may cut his ties completely with Spurs, but give him the trophies and success that he clearly wants. There's one clear comparison with Kane and that's Sol Campbell. I wonder if the abuse from Spurs fans was worth it for him?

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We don't just need a striker, we need other positions that can help with the goal tally.

Certainly midfield, and other forwards, we get nothing from Jorginho,Kante,Covacic,CHO, Mount needs to up his finishing, our top scorers in the EPL have 6 each, Harry Kane has 22 alone.

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4 hours ago, bigbluewillie said:

We don't just need a striker, we need other positions that can help with the goal tally.

Certainly midfield, and other forwards, we get nothing from Jorginho,Kante,Covacic,CHO, Mount needs to up his finishing, our top scorers in the EPL have 6 each, Harry Kane has 22 alone.

I don't think you necessarily need a player at the top of the goal charts. Don't get me wrong, I'd happily put a Harry Kane in this team. However there is sometimes a worry that the team becomes over reliant on that one player for the source of goals. City have shown how easy it can be this season without one recognised goal scorer but instead a threat of 5 or 6 getting around double figures.

I would expect all of the attacking players to increase their goal output next season. We don't necessarily need one player carrying the bulk, but we do need the entire attacking unit to step up.

I mentioned on a previous post that next season if Ziyech, Mount and Pulisic could get 8 - 10 goals each and Havertz and Werner 10 - 12 goals each, they are not unrealistic numbers but would put us on a much stronger footing then currently. If you added another attacker to replace Giroud/Tammy who could also contribute within the above goal range then we'd be well set.

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Sorry mate I don't agree look how many games we've failed to score in, simply because we don't have the squad that can score.

I can't see just a striker making the difference, you say as much yourself, 

47 minutes ago, Superblue_1986 said:

I would expect all of the attacking players to increase their goal output next season. We don't necessarily need one player carrying the bulk, but we do need the entire attacking unit to step up.

But we'll be relying on that happening, how likely is that? and as for Ziyech I don't want him here next season, can't believe TT played him instead of Pulisic.

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