Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel openly spoke of his interest in signing Erling Haaland earlier this week, but now he says he ‘fell into a trap’ and was joking when talking about pairing the Norwegian up front with Romelu Lukaku.
Haaland has been linked with almost every big club in Europe as he continues to score regularly for Borussia Dortmund and Norway.
The 21-year-old has scored, a frankly ridiculous, 70 goals in 69 games for Dortmund and has impressed internationally as well, with 12 in 15 for his country.
The prolific striker reportedly has a release clause of £64m, able to be triggered in the summer and any club that can rustle up those funds will be interested in his signature.
Tuchel made no secret of the fact that Chelsea would love to have Haaland at Stamford Bridge, revealing that talks had already occurred over a move for the Norwegian prodigy.
‘We talked about Erling Haaland a couple of times, including during the transfer window,’ Tuchel told SportBild earlier this week.
‘But then it seemed absolutely unrealistic and not at all feasible.
‘We talk about him regularly, of course, because he’s a fantastic player and clearly the defining figure at Dortmund, who is a big rival for us in the Champions League.’
When asked if he could see Haaland arriving at Chelsea to play alongside Lukaku, Tuchel replied: ‘You mean playing Lukaku and Haaland together? I have no problem to talk about that!
‘I don’t think we’ve been really serious about it yet, but let’s see what will happen in the next few weeks.’
The German boss has since reflected on his words and wishes he hadn’t said them, saying he was almost lulled into a false sense of security and they were not to be taken too seriously.
‘I fell into a trap,’ Tuchel said, via Goal. ‘I got an award in Germany, an award from a newspaper. They gave me this award and asked me about a player.
‘Normally I never, never speak about other players, because I simply never do. We were making more or less fun about it and I should have known better.
‘Because in making fun about it and being a nice guy to answer a question… getting this award I joke about a double striker with Romelu in October and it gets like we put an offer in. That was the context, but I should have known better.’
Chelsea will be one of the clubs circling for Haaland next summer, along with the likes of Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Manchester City.
The youngster will have his pick of Europe’s top destinations shortly before his 22nd birthday, an enviable position to be in.