What Romelu Lukaku's £97.5m Chelsea transfer means for signing Erling Haaland in 2022
There were few more rumoured transfers in the summer than that of Erling Haaland to Chelsea.
The Norwegian striker has impressed all-comers since joining Borussia Dortmund in December 2019 and a huge transfer has already been pre-determinted by football's commentariat for next summer.
Haaland, who has already netted 11 goals in eight games so far this season, is said to have a release clause in the region of £63.8million, meaning the likes of Manchester United, Manchester United and Real Madrid are ready to snap him up.
The Blues were reported to have been trying to get ahead of the game in the last transfer window, however. To beat the competition, Thomas Tuchel's side were enquiring about a transfer before the release clause would be activated, and before there was competition that could really drive up his salary.
However, the Bundesliga club hoped for £150m, Chelsea found a good, financial opportunity in Romelu Lukaku despite spending a record £97.5m and moved on for the summer having filled the hole they had.
Could the Blues return to try and tempt the former RB Salzburg star?
"Yeah we tried for both," Tuchel joked after signing Lukaku.
"We tried both and wanted to have [Robert] Lewandowski on the number 10 behind but unfortunately the board didn’t listen so we need to be happy with only Romelu!"
That interaction in many ways says how ridiculous the notion is, even given Chelsea's ability to spend like few other clubs in the world.
But it wouldn't be the first time Chelsea have tried to take advantage of a release clause, as they signed Timo Werner before the 2019/20 season was over by activating his.
However, signing Lukaku ticked more boxes than simply someone who can score goals. The Belgian signed a five-year deal and the transfer was very smooth because the Blues already knew so much about him.
Tuchel said at the time: "No, honestly, we had a certain profile and like I said, we are very happy with the attitude and the mentality of the group and we want to protect it.
"It’s not a given that a group works like this group and this is a very precious thing and a thing that can be decisive in football and in my opinion it is decisive.
"We are careful with this group and we want to protect it so it was not about bringing the most possible amount of players into this group."
The German added: "And we were as sure as we could be – and in any transfer there are like always issues and doubts – but we could be very, very sure with Romelu because he knows the club and he knows what Chelsea is about, so we are happy that it’s like this."
Quite frankly, Chelsea got the forward they wanted in the summer, any additional signing of Haaland would be a luxury, and with the competition from other teams any salary demands and agent fees are going to be heavily inflated.
And, while competition for positions is generally a positive, there's no guarantee that you would be able to keep Haaland and Lukaku happy in the same team, particularly in Tuchel's favoured systems.
Marina Granovskaia will have other priorities next summer. The likes of Declan Rice is likely to be targeted and, depending on the contract resolutions for Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta, another look at Jules Kounde could be on the cards.
The deals the Blues look to make won't be cheap.
In the world of football, you can never say never though.
If circumstances change - a new coach, a long-term injury to Lukaku and maybe a couple of more things, Roman Abramovich may dip into his pocket but there's no reason to suspect it at the moment.