Barcelona and Real Madrid have both spoken with the representatives for Borussia Dortmund phenom Erling Haaland, according to multiple reports including that of transfer buzz guru Guillem Balague (video below).
Another report went as far as to say that Haaland will only leave BVB for Barca or Real, the latest El Clasico tug-of-war in a world which has seen Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and others linked with the center forward-starved rivals.
That’s not to say that Karim Benzema is chopped liver, but the French forward is 33 and going to stand trial in October for blackmailing a former teammate. Barca needs an elite center forward to have any hope of keeping Lionel Messi around after Luis Suarez skipped town.
It’s also not to say that Man City, Chelsea, Liverpool, or Manchester United won’t barge their way through the door for the Norwegian’s services. All except Man City will claim we’re ridiculous for even linking them, ignoring the exorbitant fees paid in the past, but we digress!
[ MORE: Ranking Man City’s Aguero replacement options ]
Messi also complicates the issue because he will have to sign a new contract somewhere, and his exorbitant wages are one of the things putting Barca in big-time debt and seemingly deliver a similar fate to his current club or another one.
This summer is going to be fascinating if only because of the ongoing uncertainty over high transfer fees, the immense price tags being bandied about for Haaland (and Mbappe), and the sheer number of truly big names who haven’t moved.
Think Cristiano Ronaldo, who if included in the above group will be at-most the third-highest transfer fee of the summer due to his age and the incredible production at such young ages from Mbappe and Haaland.
And Neymar’s been linked with a move. While Lionel Messi’s future is in the air. And Sergio Aguero is a free agent. Beyond attackers, we could well see Georginio Wijnaldum, Gigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos, and Luka Modric all moving to new teams.
All of this set against a backdrop of COVID-19, EURO 2020 (in 2021), Copa America, and the Gold Cup, with World Cup qualifying in the background.
A hidden blessing might go the way of teams like Tottenham Hotspur and Wolves, who may see the neck-snapping transfer depth for center forwards drive up prices and lower the number of suitors who can afford Harry Kane and Raul Jimenez (assuming the Mexican striker returns healthy from his harrowing injury).
Of course, by typing all of the above words I’ve simply guaranteed that Haaland will play out the final year at Dortmund before his $80 million release clause kicks into gear in 2022, while Mbappe and Neymar will re-up with PSG, and Messi will sign a one-year deal at Barcelona where he’s joined by Aguero and we can all do the same dance in about, oh, exactly one year.
Where will the big names land this summer? Who will move? Who won’t? Who’s the name no one’s talking about that will find a new home?
This is going to be nuts…. or not.
It's not an April fools. #Haaland dad and Mino Raiola were in #Barcelona to discuss the future of the striker with Joan #Laporta as published by @sport. Nobody loses by publishing this meeting. An analysis 👇 pic.twitter.com/rkInGVf5EK
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) April 1, 2021