Manchester City are continuing to explore the possibility of signing Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland but they would like to avoid triggering his release clause and paying a lump sum, 90min understands.
It is believed that the 21-year-old's £63m release clause is only valid until the end of April, giving suitors like City and Real Madrid a rapidly approaching deadline to signal their intentions over a deal.
City have no concerns over Haaland's price tag and value the Norwegian at well over that figure, but 90min has learned that Pep Guardiola's side would prefer to avoid having to pay that sum in one go.
The reigning Premier League champions are instead looking to strike a deal with Dortmund which would actually see them pay a little more than his release clause, but stretch the payment over a certain period of time.
As 90min reported back in November, Dortmund are open to such an approach as they want to maximise the amount they can bring in by selling Haaland - while City are acutely aware they will need to pay substantial fees to agents and representatives involved in piecing the deal together on top of the transfer fee.
City also do not want to pay Haaland - whose representatives have previously played down the importance of money in deciding his next move - more than current top-earner Kevin De Bruyne, whose contract is worth around £450,000 once add-ons are factored in.
It's hoped that City can take advantage of some uncertainty from fellow suitors Real Madrid, who are prioritising signing Kylian Mbappe and are now torn on a move for another high-profile forward as 34-year-old Karim Benzema continues to play at a near-Ballon d'Or-worthy level.
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Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are also in the mix for Haaland and have recently held talks, while Bayern Munich are looking at the situation amid ongoing uncertainty over the future of Robert Lewandowski.
Manchester United, who are closely monitoring Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, also can't be discounted, while 90min understands that Chelsea are still open to agreeing a deal.
The Blues were looking at signing Haaland last summer before turning to Romelu Lukaku, but the Belgian's long-term future at Stamford Bridge is far from certain after a difficult season under Thomas Tuchel.
Any move would be reliant on Chelsea's takeover being finalised as quickly as possible, however, with Dortmund needing a decision from Haaland on where his future lies by the end of April.