Reports in Catalonia from OnzeTV3 suggest that Barcelona are in pole position to sign Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland.
The Norwegian has been proving himself to be one of the best young talents, if not the best, in Europe and a host of clubs are linked to him.
Real Madrid have been mentioned as they look for a long-term successor to Karim Benzema. In his Inside Football column Dean Jones reports that Manchester City are expected to be a front-runner as well.
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The Barcelona news has come a bit out of left field and clearly appears to be being pushed by Haaland’s agent, Mino Raiola, but what does it all mean?
We talked to Felix Martin from Eurosport Spain and Tobias Hiusiak of Eurosport Germany to find out more.
View from Spain – It all hinges on Messi
Let’s start with the report itself. Martin says that it comes from a reliable source, but does point out that it isn’t being reported anywhere else. He also mentioned quotes from Raiola a couple of weeks ago that suggested it was “fake news” that he had been talking to potential Barcelona candidates.
“The situation in Barcelona is very delicate, the presidential run is still on, the voting is supposed to have place in January 24th and there are a lot of rumours involving candidates and deals that they have with players,” Martin says.
The key, Martin says, is Lionel Messi, as seems to be the case with so many transfer dominoes at the moment.
“It depends on Messi. And Messi’s situation depends on the winner of the presidential election in Barcelona and their sporting project for the club.
Image credit: Getty Images
“If Joan Laporta wins (he’s the main favorite), Messi will most likely stay. The fact of Messi staying or leaving would completely change Barça’s financial situation since Leo’s salary is huge.
“If he leaves, Haaland could obviously sign for Barça since they would have the money for his signing. But if Messi stays I don’t think that Barça could afford paying a big amount of money for the transfer of the Norwegian striker.
“Barça has been looking for a striker for some time now. Koeman wanted to sign Depay and he doesn’t want Braithwaite on his team. But again, it depends on Messi.
“If Messi leaves, Barça will want to sign some talent to play alongside Dembélé, Griezmann or Pedri, so Haaland could obviously be a great option.
“I don’t think that Barça would let Griezmann leave unless they would receive an irrefutable proposition from a big team. (I think that Griezmann will play some day for PSG, this is just a theory of mine, it could happen next summer, but who knows?).”
View from Germany – Raiola doing Raiola things, Haaland may actually stay
Moving over to Germany and our colleague in Munich Tobias Hiusiak is dismissing this as nothing more than Raiola white noise. There have been rumours ever since Haaland’s arrival.
Hiusiak mentions that Manchester United and Liverpool have been linked as well as Real, Barca, and City. In his opinion “Haaland’s next move will be to join a Premier League team.”
However, Hiusiak isn’t so sure that will happen this summer.
Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
Image credit: Getty Images
“To be clear: This was never the plan. In fact it is very unlikely, that they’ll sell the Norwegian this summer, as there is no buy-out-clause in his contract.
“There are some rumours about him having an option to leave in 2022 for €75 million, but that was never confirmed by Dortmund.
Hiusiak also adds that he doesn’t expect Jadon Sancho, Haaland’s partner in crime, to be any cheaper this summer compared to last summer. It’s clear that Dortmund are in no rush to sell.
And what about a replacement for Haaland eventually. Do they have anyone in mind?
“No. They have just promoted 16 year old Youssoufa Moukoko to the first team and plan to make him learn from Haaland as long as the Norwegian is around.”