All eyes on Haaland

Not quite a try before you buy option, but at the very least Manchester City will get to witness what Erling Haaland is capable of in a stadium he may one day call his home.
City boss Pep Guardiola may have dismissed the prospects of the club being able to afford Haaland last week, but he has already backtracked somewhat by claiming the club could perhaps spend more than £100m on a player in the future after all.
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“So far the club has decided not to spend close to £100m for a player, or more than £100m on a player,” said Guardiola.
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Maybe in the future it is going to happen if they decide it is necessary to improve the team for the next five, 10 years, for many reasons, but so far the club, the organisation, the CEO, the sporting director, decided not to do it and that’s why they didn’t do it. But maybe in the future – I don’t know.
And so, with Sergio Aguero on his merry way this summer, tonight could be the night where City's chiefs decide the Norwegian is the real deal and worth going for.
And while Haaland looks to help Dortmund fight for a place in the Champions League semis, his agent Mino Raiola has already reportedly been in England holding talks with potential suitors regarding a potential summer transfer.
There's the potential Manchester United move, a club craving a centre forward. The potential City move, the former club of Erling's father Alf-Inge. Or the potential Chelsea move, the club who did not flinch during the pandemic and duly spent more than £200m on players - and gave £35m to agents in the process.
On this occasion, Haaland will be going back to Germany, but it could be a key night ahead of a summer where Haaland and Mr Raiola will decide if his future lies in England.

Barcelona line-up Serie A duo as Haaland alternatives - Euro Papers

BEHAVE, JESSE

Talking of players with a future in Manchester, United may well have a summer rethink when it comes to Jesse Lingard, who carried on with the momentum that secured him an England recall by steering West Ham to a vital victory at Wolves on Monday night.
Lingard’s solo stunner and a piece of Berbatov-esque skill for West Ham’s second helped the Hammers move into the Champions League places.
Suddenly Leicester are looking in a precarious position just four points above West Ham, five ahead of Chelsea and six clear of Tottenham and Liverpool. This battle for one place could well see two places open up, but while the loss of Declan Rice for around six weeks was meant to be the hammer blow to West Ham’s chances, Lingard proved they could have enough to keep this dream alive.
Next up for West Ham. At home against Leicester. Oof.

ADVANTAGE BARCA?

Manchester City 14 points clear in the Premier League, Inter eight clear in Serie A, Bayern Munich seven clear in the Bundesliga, and while the Ligue 1 race is going to the wire it’s getting tasty in La Liga too.
Barcelona are the in-form team in Spain and last night’s last-gasp win over Valladolid has left them just one point behind leaders Atletico Madrid, with Real Madrid just two points behind the Catalan club.
This was Atletico’s to lose, with their healthy lead earlier this season prompting talk of overhauls for the usual suspects, but now Barca and Real are back in it this really is looking too tight to call.
What a time to have a Clasico up next. Another oof.

'Messi case closed' - Club pulls out of race for Barca superstar - Euro Papers

IN OTHER NEWS

A MOMENT OF HISTORY IN THE EFL

Referee Rebecca Welch made history on Monday when she became the first woman to officiate an EFL match in Port Vale's 2-0 win at Harrogate.
The 37-year-old drew praise from both managers, with Harrogate manager Simon Weaver just about summing it up – “It's about time."
Weaver added: "I think she was very good indeed. Important calls were made throughout and they were the right calls.
"Hopefully it's just par for the course that we see female referees and officials in the EFL. It's about time."
Port Vale’s Darrell Clarke said: "I thought she was focused and didn't get much wrong. I was moaning about one or two decisions, but generally it was quite consistent.
"We need to see more women referees and lineswomen moving forward. They should be judged like anyone else and she's had a good start."

RETRO CORNER

A date Arsenal fans may remember for the wrong reasons. Well, they’d have to have a good memory to remember the exact date, but when it comes to On This Day, this is one they’d rather forget.
For not just one reason…
But two…

COMING UP

Champions League football. Two corkers, and you can follow updates of Manchester City’s quarter-final with Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool’s reunion with Real Madrid right here on Eurosport this evening.
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