Real Madrid targeting Erling Haaland despite money problems amid Barcelona interest - Paper Round
Real Madrid continue to hope to sign Erling Haaland but Karim Benzema's presence mean they may want him to wait a year longer to move, while Barcelona are also keen - and admitted they choose not to sign Lionel Messi to a new deal last summer. Elsewhere James Milner could stay on for one more year at Liverpool, and Diego Simeone has hit out at Joao Felix.
Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Bundesliga match between TSG Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund at the PreZero-Arena on February 22, 2022 in Sinsheim, Germany.
Real Madrid still hope to beat Barcelona to the signing of Erling Haaland, according to Spanish newspaper Marca. The 21-year-old Borussia Dortmund striker is wanted by Manchester United, Manchester City, PSG and Chelsea are all interested as well, but Real would like the player to wait another year as they will be overloaded with forwards if they add Kylian Mbappe and Haaland to Karim Benzema.
Paper Round’s view: Haaland is an exceptional player and Mbappe is just as talented - if not more talented. Signing both of them would clearly be a huge financial outlay and that would not be easy to contend with despite football’s continued financial recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Barcelona could exploit the difficulties by making their move, but they are similarly hamstrung.
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Barca could have kept Messi
Barcelona’s director of football Mateu Alemany has revealed that the club could have kept Lionel Messi last summer but decided it was not worth the cost. Alemany hinted that they would have had to agree a tie-up with private equity group CVC in order to raise sufficient funds to keep the Argentine striker, but ultimately they let the player go in order to avoid the setup.
Paper Round’s view: CVC did what many private equity groups try to do - turn up with huge sums of money when businesses are in distress in the short term, and then enjoy the profits in the long term. It appears that Barca were able to weigh up the pros and cons of taking such a deal and thought given Messi’s age, that it was not worth committing themselves to a 50-year agreement.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp wants to tie down James Milner to a new contract at the club, despite his age. If he signs a one-year contract then he will finish next season well into 37, and the German manager believes that Milner still has plenty to give on the football pitch, saying: “Milly will be fine after his career as well, but he obviously loves what he is doing and he will play football next year, definitely.”
Paper Round’s view: Milner has been an excellent player and reportedly he is teetotal. If he takes that discipline to other aspects of his professional life then clearly he has an excellent chance of staying fit and healthy, and his stamina has shown little signs of waning. An extra year at Anfield would also give him an excellent chance of securing another Premier League or Champions League medal.
Joao Felix recently said that everyone knew what the root of Atletico Madrid’s problems were, and now the 22-year-old has been criticised by club boss, Diego Simeone, for making the comments in public. The 51-year-old manager said: “About what Joao said, you can ask him. I work according to the team. If he is clear about what the problem is, it would be good to know”.
Paper Round’s view: It is fair to assume that Felix was implying that the problem is Simeone, and that must be the conclusion that Simeone has drawn over the outburst. The Argentine has had difficult years with the the capital club before and always managed to get over the hump, so it seems like the Portuguese youngster and the veteran manager will have to thrash out their differences or the player will leave.