Back in the summer transfer window of 2012, Eden Hazard dominated the headlines. The Belgium international had flourished at Lille and ended up moving to Stamford Bridge, despite interest from Manchester United and Real Madrid. And, now, Chelsea are one step closer to repeating the same trick with Erling Haaland.
Chelsea weren’t at their best against Porto on Tuesday night.
They entered the showdown 2-0 up from the first leg but slipped to defeat at Stamford Bridge, with Mehdi Taremi scoring the only goal of the game.
It wasn’t pretty from Chelsea but the result means they’re now in the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2012, the year when they won the competition.
At the end of the season, Tuchel wants Haaland signed.
And they’re now a small step closer to making themselves attractive to the Borussia Dortmund star, just like what happened with Hazard back in 2012.
That year, the Belgium international was a wanted man.
He’d flourished at Lille, striking up a strong partnership with Blues legend Joe Cole and establishing himself as one of the best young players on the planet.
At first, Chelsea were seen as distant suitors.
Hazard was strongly linked with Manchester United, with Sir Alex Ferguson believing he could elevate his side.
And Real Madrid, not content with boasting the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema, were firmly in the mix as well.
Except Chelsea then caused a major upset by winning the Champions League for the first time in their history, famously navigating their way to the trophy under Roberto Di Matteo.
That changed things.
Suddenly, they had the perfect bait for Hazard. And it was telling that, upon completing his move to the capital, the former Lille star told the world he was ‘joining the Champions League winners’.
Now, Chelsea will hope they can repeat the trick with Haaland.
They’ve certainly moved in the right direction, taking a small step towards the promised land by navigating their way past Porto on Tuesday night.
And they’ll be hoping Haaland will have the same message for fans should they make themselves attractive enough to the Dortmund striker.
Winning the Champions League would certainly do that.
And it would show that Chelsea can offer him a platform to win the biggest trophies on offer, something the 20-year-old certainly wants from his next move.
Tuesday night wasn’t memorable but it was still another step in the right direction, showing the Blues can dig in when required.
And if they win the Champions League, Haaland may just be theirs – despite Manchester United, Real Madrid, Manchester City and Barcelona also being keen.
Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness, meanwhile, recently expressed a belief Tuchel’s side would be the ‘finished article’ if they signed Haaland this summer.
“Other than having an out and out 25-30 goals a season man, Chelsea are pretty near the finished article,” he said.
“If they get that, they’ll be very dangerous. If they can land one in the summer you never know.
“No one is talking about them for the guy at Dortmund, (Erling) Haaland. Would they have a go there?
“I’m sure the owner would have a go if he saw any encouragement this year that they could be the team to win the big trophies, his eyes are only on the league and the Champions League, Roman Abramovich.
“I think he would go again (and spend big for Haaland).”