Erling Haaland is, in the words of his agent Mino Raiola, the “talk of the town” and many of European football’s giants are working out the logistics of a possible approach for the Norwegian striker.
The Premier League has long stood as a likely landing spot, given that Haaland spent the first few years of his life in England while his father, Alf-Inge Haaland, played for Manchester City, after also representing Nottingham Forest and Leeds United.
The Manchester City that Alf-Inge Haaland played for was a very different Manchester City to today’s incarnation, where they’re now one of the richest sports teams in the world, but they have always been there as a possible destination for the 20-year-old, who is currently impressing in the Bundesliga week after week with Borussia Dortmund.
Manchester United have been closely linked with Haaland too, especially after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer recently said that he keeps in touch with the player who he worked with at Molde.
However, Haaland‘s next chapter now look more likely to take place in LaLiga Santander and with Real Madrid.
On Monday night, Josep Pedrerol revealed on his ‘El Chiringuito’ programme that Haaland‘s preferred choice is to play for Real Madrid and that he’d like to move this summer, even before a release clause in his contract kicks in in 2022.
“In Dortmund, they know that Haaland wants to play at Real Madrid,” Pedrerol said.
“If Real Madrid want to sign him this year then they have to pay whatever Dortmund ask for.
“Real Madrid have an advantage compared to the others and that’s the good relationship Florentino Perez has with the Dortmund hierarchy.
“So, if Dortmund decide to sell Haaland then Florentino Perez will be the first to know.
“If there is a big offer from Manchester City or Barcelona then Perez will be the first to know.
“So Real Madrid are better-placed than Barcelona or Manchester City.
“Now, it depends on if Dortmund have problems in terms of being able to sell him now.
“If Dortmund don’t make it into the Champions League then they can’t justify the sale of their star.
“They wouldn’t be able to justify to their fans the idea of being out of Europe and losing Haaland.”
As it stands, Borussia Dortmund are fifth in the Bundesliga table, four points behind Eintracht Frankfurt in the final Champions League spot.
Real Madrid fans, therefore, will be cheering Die Schwarzgelben on, then, over the next few weeks and hoping that Luka Jovic‘s Eintracht Frankfurt side don’t deny Borussia Dortmund a Champions League place. That would be quite the irony…
Raiola’s eyebrow-raising comments
On the same day as Pedrerol‘s report, an interview with Raiola was published by The Athletic and it also left some clues about the 20-year-old’s future.
Raiola is Haaland‘s agent and is known to be one of the toughest negotiators in elite football. Bridges have been smouldered in the past, if not burned, with certain clubs, including the two Manchester sides who had looked to be best-placed to sign Haaland if he were to embark on a Premier League adventure.
Discussing past run-ins with Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola, Raiola suggested that he might not take current clients to clubs he has a bad relationship with. Or who have a bad view of him.
“With Ferguson or Guardiola, I have this problem, and I think that it is changing now, that they believe we should submit to them because ‘otherwise, tomorrow, you don’t do a player with Manchester United‘,” he told The Athletic.
“I don’t give a f**k if I never do another player with Manchester United.
“I’m not in their hands. I’m independent.
“We have only one party that we take care of: our players. As long as our players like us, you do what you have to do.”
Haaland’s Spain links
Curiously, Haaland already has a home in Spain as his family have a house in Marbella, on the Costa del Sol and a six-hour drive from Madrid.
The striker has spent a lot of time in that region in the past and the Norwegian national team even had a training base in Marbella this international break.
He has met the mayor of Marbella and been gifted a football shirt from local side Marbella FC. Haaland even had a personal barber on the south coast, the same one who has cut the hair of Youssef En-Nesyri and Achraf Hakimi.
With Norway not at Euro 2020, Haaland will have a free summer and may choose to spend some time in Spain to relax after the best season of his career. If he does so, agents and directors around the world will be wondering if he’ll be making his Spanish stay a permanent one.