A picture is worth a thousand words. And the image of 20-year-old Haaland at the end of the two-all draw between Dortmund and Cologne clearly told a story: the Norwegian striker has run out of patience. His side are struggling to ensure direct access to the Champions League from the Bundesliga, stuck in fifth as they are, four points behind Eintracht in fourth, and eight behind Wolfsburg. If Dortmund end up without Champions League football that’s going to push Haaland towards the door.
Haaland’s reaction went viral. Angry at the draw, he threw his shirt at Spanish player Meré, who had asked him for it, and headed, raging, to the tunnel. His contribution, although immense, isn’t proving enough to keep Dortmund in the top four Haaland has scored 33 goals in 31 games, 21 in 21 in the league. The young Norwegian fully understands that the Champions Leagues is the real shop window for his talents, where he’ll achieve his dreams of a glittering future (Mbappé has exactly the same idea, with the two shining in the last-16 of the tournament) and he refuses to contemplate not playing in Europe’s premier club tournament. And according to sources consulted by this newspaper he’s made this absolutely clear to his agent Mino Raiola.
Haaland planned to stay at Dortmund to 2022
Haaland’s initial plan was to stay with Dortmund to 2022. When he chose the German outfit over the many other offers he had he was fully aware of what he was doing, believing it was the best place to continue his evolution as a player. Raiola fully backed his decision. The super agent brought the explosive forward to Dortmund with extremely beneficial conditions for the team, who only had to pay Salzburg 20 million euros plus 23 million in commissions, with eight going to the player’s father and 15 for Raiola. In exchange, the agent and Dortmund CEO Watzke verbally agreed to allow the player to leave in 2022 at a reasonable price, although this was never put in writing. They talked of a figure of 75 million euros, but there is no clause in the contract specifying this amount.
That was the original idea. Later, with the pandemic and explosive performances from Haaland, things have changed. The new scenario has seen Dortmund’s income fall dramatically and they are considering the possibility of selling their big assets (Haaland or Sancho). In the case of the Norwegian, the verbal agreement to help him move on in 2022 won’t have any effect this summer and the club will be able set whatever price they can get. Although of course, the player’s own wishes are the most important thing. And if Dortmund don’t have Champions League football he’ll want to leave.
Real Madrid want Haaland
Real Madrid have made signing Haaland a priority for the club. And the Spanish outfit are best placed to land him for a number of reasons. The first, the player’s own wishes – he’s always liked the option of playing for Real Madrid. Secondly, because Raiola is keen to work with Real Madrid right now and finally, the good relationship between Watzke at Dortmund and Real Madrid’s president Florentino Pérez. Watzke is minded to give priority to Real Madrid if they receive a number of offers and even help with the organisation of payments.
Borussia Dortmund face Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and given the form of Guariola’s side getting through that tie would be a huge result for the club. After that they’d face Bayern Munich or PSG in the semi-finals, meaning their chances of getting to the final has to be seen as slender given the firepower arrayed against them. The final, if they got there would be against any of Real Madrid, Liverpool, Porto or Chelsea and if Dortmund were in that final they’d fancy their chances after coming through the quarters and semis. But it’s looking like lifting the Champions League might be their best chance of securing a place in the tournament next year… and if they don’t could we see Haaland playing in the white shirt of Real Madrid?