Super agent Mino Raiola has said that while he thinks Real Madrid can afford to buy Erling Haaland this summer, perhaps the more important question for both Los Blancos and fierce La Liga rivals Barcelona is whether they can afford not to buy him.
After scoring 81 goals for Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund since the start of last season alone, Haaland has become the most coveted striker in world football at a time when a number of top clubs are on the hunt for a new elite goalscorer.
Raiola has told AS that every club that was involved with the failed Super League has asked about the Norwegian prodigy at some point.
“The 14 big clubs want him, yes. Now it is important to know which is the best option,” Raiola said.
Insisting the plan is to choose sporting prospects ahead of financial incentives, he added, “My job is to maximize the player's economic performance, but it must be an important project. You can't buy a footballer like that without having an idea or a project for the future.”
Haaland is thought to have a €75m release clause that will become active in the summer of 2022, capping his potential price tag. But the interest in him is so fiercely competitive there is every chance that a club willing to put up big money could land him a year sooner.
Yet with clubs everywhere suffering from the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic and all the lost revenue that has entailed, questions focus on whether Haaland is affordable.
Earlier this year, fellow top agent Jonathan Barnett questioned if Real could afford his client Eduardo Camavinga because of the financial situation. Raiola takes a different view as to whether the club has the funds for Haaland, suggesting that they can do it if they really want to.
Asked if Real Madrid can afford Haaland, he said, “I don't know, because I didn't study your finances. But I believe yes. I think everyone can afford it. But the question is another…can Madrid afford not to buy Haaland? And Barca?”
Raiola has admitted that Haaland himself is yet to make a decision on which club he would prefer to join but claims that Dortmund have made it known to him they are not prepared to sell.
“He has to tell me when all things are clear in my head and I can make a menu, and put it on his plate: we have that, this and this…but for now we can't,” the agent explained.
“What we know today is that Dortmund spoke very seriously with us and told us not to sell. That is what they have said. Now, you have to see if that desire exists until 1 September.”