There are so many transfer rumors swirling regarding the future of Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland. When will he make his decision? (Probably in the late spring). Is there a chance he stays with BVB for another year? (Not likely.) And, most importantly, who is in the best position to sign him?
Since he has an affordable release clause, Haaland holds all the cards here. How he chooses to prioritize finances vs. sporting project and what aspects of a sporting project he values are all up to him. And nobody else.
His powerful agent Mino Raiola recently named four clubs as possibilities for his client. He clarified that they are not the ONLY teams that are interested or could be interested, but let us use these as a starting point.
Barcelona. Bayern Munich. Manchester City. Real Madrid.
Conspicuously, City is the only Premier League side on the list. PSG is nowhere to be found. You would expect the Parisians, Liverpool, United, and Chelsea to all be linked.
Why the other Premier League sides are unlikely
Even though British papers try to sell stories about Manchester United, Chelsea, or Liverpool being involved, none of those spots have looked realistic for Haaland. United, perhaps, due to the prestige of the club and the Cristiano Ronaldo factor. Ralf Ragnick is a potential consideration, too. But since they have their own management issues and have not been serious contenders on the level of Bayern, Real, or City in recent seasons.
Meanwhile, Chelsea already made a big investment at striker this summer in Romelu Lukaku. They are almost certainly off the table.
Liverpool? They are incredible and just about on City’s level in terms of current success and United historically. But when has Fenway Sports Group invested so much in one player? A move for Haaland is highly unlikely.
Outside the Premier League, PSG have a fear factor for Real, but Kylian Mbappe is a big reason why Haaland may sour on them. Whatever PSG can offer, City, for example, can offer. (And more….but we’ll get to that!)
Of those four teams, we can further rule out two of them. Bayern have Robert Lewandowski. He isn’t going anywhere. I would put little stock into the rumors of Lewa going to Real and Haaland replacing him in Bavaria. People associated with Die Roten do not think this is a good idea.
Real Madrid vs. Manchester City will be a tough transfer battle
Barcelona is the easiest team to rule out. That they are even listed here is either due to Raiola’s relationship with Joan Laporta or due to Haaland’s potential affinity for the history of the club. Though he seems to be more drawn to Real Madrid anyway. Given Barça’s immense financial difficulties and Europa League trajectory, they are the least compelling option for Haaland of these four clubs.
So it all comes down to Manchester City and Real Madrid. Madridistas have felt this in their hearts for a while.
City vs. Real is an interesting battle of ideals for Haaland to weigh. Emotionally, City is the club of his father while Real is the club of childhood dreams. City is the biggest giant in the Premier League, while Real is the most mainstream a club can get in terms of overall global following. At City, Haaland could make tons of cash and be the guy. At Real, Haaland could get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play with Kylian Mbappe and Vinicius Junior in his chase for titles. As Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid taught us, many fiery attacking options can exist together and prosper, getting their numbers.
Madridistas should not even think about anyone else. Manchester City is the clear rival for Haaland’s signature, and they are a very formidable one with their financial power, the spotlight of the Premier League, and the link with his father.
But they are imperfect. At Real, Haaland would have to share time with Karim Benzema at first. At Manchester City, Haaland would have to work with a manager in Pep Guardiola who is infamous for not showing love to traditional strikers like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sergio Aguero, and Robert Lewandowski over the years.
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These are drawbacks to consider, but Haaland is a confident young man who will be weighing the positives. Bayern and Barcelona have outside shots, but, ultimately, this battle will be fought between an old heavyweight in Real and one of the new ones, City.