Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland is said to have decided that Real Madrid would be his preference if he was to move on this summer, although it would not be a straightforward transfer.
Haaland has become the most in demand striker in the world over the last 12 months. The 20-year-old Norwegian has scored 33 goals in 31 appearances for Dortmund across all competitions this season, in addition to the 44 in 44 he got for Red Bull Salzburg and Dortmund combined last season.
Haaland, who was poached by Dortmund for just €20m in January 2020, has a €75m release clause in his contract that does not become active until the summer of 2022. It means that, until then, there is no ceiling on the potential price that Dortmund can ask for.
Reports of Dortmund’s price tag for Haaland range from €150m (£128m) to €180m (£153m), which would make him one of the most expensive players of all time.
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Despite Manchester City’s determination to sign a new striker and confidence that they would be favourites to land Haaland, manager Pep Guardiola admitted on Friday that the kind of numbers of involved would stop City from doing a deal amid the financial fallout from the coronavirus crisis.
“I don't know what is going to happen but at these prices we are not going to buy any striker It's impossible. We can’t afford it,” the City boss conceded.
Father Alf-Inge Haaland and agent Mino Raiola have been in Spain this week for talks with Barcelona and Real. AS claims it was during the discussions with the latter that Alf-Inge made clear to senior Bernabeu official Jose Angel Sanchez that the preference is to join Los Blancos.
In the past, Raiola has even said it his personal dream to broker a high profile transfer for one of his clients to Real. Until Haaland came along, it was assumed that would most likely be Paul Pogba.
It is said that the problem for Real remains the asking price from Dortmund. Despite Raiola’s personal ambitions surrounding the club, there is also a suggestion that Real will refuse to engage in the agent’s preference to spark a bidding war between a number of top clubs.
Real would also not begin a formal pursuit of Haaland or enter talks with Dortmund until he gives formal indication to the Bundesliga side that he wishes to leave the club.
Dortmund will have to play a careful game. If they overreach with their demands, they could end up pricing potential buyers out of a deal and would have to accept a non-negotiable and much lower capped price next summer. However, keeping Haaland for another year may still be worth the difference between a potential €150m pay day and the €75m he would go for in 2022.