Thomas Tuchel has admitted he ‘fell into a trap’ by commenting on Chelsea’s interest in Erling Haaland, after recently sparking speculation by discussing the Norwegian ace.
The future of the Borussia Dortmund striker continues to dominate the transfer gossip columns, with the likelihood being that he will make a high profile move next summer, with a reported £68m release clause set to come into effect at the end of the season.
That ‘cut-price’ deal for a player who has scored 70 goals in just 69 games for the German club is likely to spark a frenzied race for his signature among Europe’s top sides, with a number of clubs across the continent and in the Premier League rumoured to be in the mix.
One of those clubs who are reportedly interested is Chelsea, the European champions having attempted to sign the striker before splashing out £97.5m on bringing Romelu Lukaku back to the club during the summer.
Current Blues boss Tuchel only served to fuel the fire by admitting that the club had discussed a potential move for the 21-year-old in the recent window – which he revealed to German outlet Bild after being handed their Trainer of the Year award.
“We talked about Erling Haaland a couple of times, including during the transfer window,” he told Bild. “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.”
He was then asked if Chelsea could still make a move given their recent signing of Lukaku, and he joked: “You mean two at the top [with] Lukaku and Haaland? We can talk about it!”
Speaking ahead of today’s game against Norwich, Tuchel was asked about those comments, and he conceded he ‘fell into a trap’ and insisted his comments about a Lukaku-Haaland pairing were a ‘joke’.
“I fell into a trap,” Tuchel said. “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 [Lukaku] in October and it gets like we put an offer in. That was the context, but I should have known better.”