Where Will Erling Haaland Go?
Erling Haaland is the name on everybody’s lips in the world of football. The tall, fast, powerful Norwegian striker is the sport’s hottest property. Every big club in the world is said to be interested in buying him. His current team, Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, is desperate for him to stay put. Whenever speculation appears in the press, they point out that he has a contract until 2024. However, the reality is that they’re likely to sell if an offer of around £150m came in. They would have been willing to sell Jadon Sancho for the right price last summer, and they’ll sell Haaland for the right price this summer. The question is who will pay that price, and where would Haaland prefer to go?
Haaland appears to have all the raw materials to be football’s next big superstar. He’s already a better player than his father ever was (although his father was a defender rather than a striker and several inches shorter). Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are rapidly approaching retirement, and someone has to be the new face of the sport. Could we see Haaland’s face smiling back at us from the reels of online slots, as Ronaldo’s does in the “Striker Goes Wild” slot at Rose Slots IE? Will we see him advertising the world’s biggest airlines, as Messi once did? How many online slots jackpots would it take to pay his wages? Are the odds of him staying put better than the odds of him making a move, or is trying to work that out more like playing online slots, too? Let’s see if we can make any sense of what’s likely to be the transfer story of the summer.
The Case For Staying
Haaland doesn’t have to go anywhere. When he joined Borussia Dortmund in December 2019, it was seen by both his father and his agent as the “next logical step” for the talented striker. Dortmund is a step up from Red Bull Salzburg, and he’s only been there for sixteen months. He’s also still only twenty years old. If Haaland went to Dortmund to learn and progress – which appeared to be the intention at the time – then he can’t have learned everything there is to learn in that short time. Even if he’s making faster progress than anyone expected him to, there’s still more learning to be done and more progress to demonstrate. He won’t be 21 until the summer. He’ll be a more complete player at 22 or even 23, and of course, there’s always the argument that he should probably honour the contract he signed less than eighteen months ago.
Whenever the words “striker” and “money” are mentioned, the words “Manchester City” won’t be far behind them. Despite Pep Guardiola’s insistence that the club can’t afford to spend £150m on a new striker this summer, nobody believes him. City has the cash and the prestige. By the time the transfer window comes around, they might also have the UEFA Champions League trophy in their cabinet to do with the Premier League trophy they’ll win back from Liverpool in the next few weeks. With club legend and all-time top scorer Sergio Aguero leaving Manchester City at the end of the season, there’s a gaping hole that will need filling. Haaland is the right player at the right time, and he’s at the right age to stay at City for as long as Aguero did.
Manchester United’s slow rebuilding operation under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going well. They won’t catch Manchester City at the top of the Premier League this season, but they look a good bet to finish second and might also win the Europa League. With a trophy in the cabinet and Champions League football to offer next season, not to mention enough cash to do the deal, Manchester United might look like a viable option to Haaland. The biggest thing going for United’s prospects is that Solskjaer coached Haaland when he was a youth player at Molde and got on well with him. Haaland has spoken warmly of Solskjaer in the past, but that isn’t the same thing as saying he’d like to play for his club. The Red Devils are probably an outside bet.
The financial situation at Barcelona is unclear. It’s frequently reported that they need to cut player salaries and offload players to stave off the threat of bankruptcy, and yet their name is being connected with what would surely be the most expensive transfer of the summer if it were to go ahead. His agent Mino Raiola was recently seen talking to executives from the Catalan football giants in Spain, which sparked rumours that Barcelona might have nosed ahead of City in the race for the striker’s signature. Haaland’s father Alf-Inge was also involved in the talks. Dortmund executives were far from thrilled with the development, but that’s par for the course where the outspoken Raiola is involved. Whether Barcelona really has the cash remains to be seen, and the question of whether Haaland wants to be involved with a Barcelona team that appears to be destined for a lengthy rebuilding problem is a big one.
Whenever there’s a suggestion that a player of Haaland’s quality might be available to buy, Real Madrid’s name will always be linked with them. Haaland senior and Raiola even found time to meet Florentino Perez, Real Madrid’s club president, during their recent trip to Spain. Unlike Barcelona, there aren’t thought to be any financial issues with Real Madrid. The question may be more one of how much the club really wants him. They will have to part with current star striker Karim Benzema eventually, but Benzema is currently in the form of his life at 33. It’s also thought that Madrid’s board would prefer to sign PSG’s Kylian Mbappe than Haaland, and even a club of Real’s resources can only afford to pull off one of those deals in a calendar year. Signing both is out of the question.
Having run the rule over the four likely contenders, we think Manchester City are the most likely to win Haaland’s signature, with their neighbours Manchester United least likely. Don’t be surprised to see him go to Spain instead, though – and don’t be surprised if he stays in Germany either. As we saw with the Jadon Sancho story last year, transfer stories involving Borussia Dortmund players can drag on for months without going anywhere if the club doesn’t want to let the player go. With three years left on Haaland’s contract, they might choose to do the same again.