Chelsea have identified Villarreal forward Gerard Moreno as their desired alternative for top target Erling Haaland.

According to Fichajes, Chelsea are now slowly backing away from their pursuit of Erling Haaland, knowing the forward isn’t for sale this summer. As a result, they are now scouting potential cost-effective alternatives, with Villarreal’s Gerard Moreno emerging as a potential candidate.

A former member of the Espanyol youth academy, Moreno has been a star sensation in La Liga this past season, being involved in as many as 30 league goals in just 33 matches. His exploits in front of goal have indeed played a vital role in helping Villarreal win the UEFA Europa League and secure direct qualification for the UEFA Champions League next season.

The forward was also selected for the Spanish national team for the ongoing European Championship. He is not having a great campaign, though, notably missing the penalty in the disappointing draw with Poland.

However, that hasn’t deterred Chelsea, who are in the market for a new striker this summer. It appears Thomas Tuchel is frustrated with Timo Werner’s lack of productivity upfront, while he is keen on offloading Tammy Abraham, who is a subject of interest for Newcastle United among other Premier League clubs.

Fernando Calero (R) is a prime defensive target for Arsenal i the January window. (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

Gerard Moreno has turned a lot of heads this past season. (Photo courtesy: AFP/Getty)

Chelsea’s prime target this summer was none other than Erling Haaland. However, the Dortmund superstar is expected to cost up to £170 million while moves for other targets such as Harry Kane or Romelu Lukaku also appear unlikely.

It has put Moreno into the limelight, especially after a successful 2020/21 campaign. Tuchel is hoping that the Spaniard can compete with Werner in the number nine role next season, although the forward’s versatility could be another factor behind the German’s interest.

Indeed, Moreno can operate on either flank and is regarded as a “modern striker”, who can create opportunities for his teammates. It bodes well for Tuchel’s system that is quite fluidic. Not to mention, the 29-year-old is blessed with technical prowess that could make him a potential upgrade over the more pace-reliant Werner.

Gerard Moreno is unlikely to cost a fortune either, with the player himself keen on leaving Villarreal in the summer. His current contract at the club also expires in 2023, so it won’t be surprising to see Unai Emery & co. cashing in on him before the player gets to his thirties and loses his value.

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