Lionel Messi: New Barcelona president vows to keep star
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Barcelona have assured Erling Haaland he’ll be the second best-paid player at the club behind Lionel Messi, according to reports. The Argentina international is expected to stay in Catalonia. And he could be given the perfect partner in crime when the transfer window reopens this summer.
Barcelona want to sign Haaland.
And, on Thursday, the Catalan giants took their first steps towards a blockbuster transfer deal for the 20-year-old.
Mine Raiola held talks with Barcelona about a deal for Haaland, who could leave Borussia Dortmund if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.
And Spanish website ESports3 have claimed Raiola has told Barcelona it’s between them and Real Madrid when it comes to signing his client.
Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool also hold interest in the Norway international, who has scored 31 goals in the Bundesliga and Champions League combined.
The report says Barcelona, in order to ensure they win the race for Haaland, have assured Raiola his client will be only behind Messi in the pay scale.
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Should the Argentina international leave the club as a free agent at the end of the season, Haaland would then join as the club’s highest earner.
Yet while that’s the case, the La Liga giants made it clear they’d rather recruit the 20-year-old next summer instead.
Barcelona’s finances have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, with the club ideally waiting a year before splashing out on any marquee deals.
Any deal for Haaland will be in the region of £130million, while they’ll also have to pay £30m to the player’s father, Alf-Inge Haaland, and Raiola.
But Barcelona think they can gazump Real Madrid due to their rivals’ determination to sign Kylian Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain, with the France international currently their priority.
And what ultimately happens with Haaland remains to be seen.
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Raiola is primed to sit down for talks with other interested parties, with the likes of United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City also in the hunt.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer views Haaland as the ideal upgrade on the likes of Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, who have both struggled for consistency this term.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel would love to sign the Dortmund star having seen Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud misfire this term.
Liverpool are monitoring Haaland amid uncertainty over Mohamed Salah’s long-term Anfield future.
And Manchester City are aiming to sign the 20-year-old as a replacement for Sergio Aguero, who will be leaving the Etihad Stadium behind this summer.
Meanwhile, speaking recently, Dortmund chief Matthias Sammer urged Haaland to think carefully before leaving the Westfalenstadion behind.
“I would recommend for Erling to also see the value of Borussia Dortmund,” Sammer, who now serves as one of Dortmund’s technical advisors, told Sport Bild.
“The club has given him a lot. From here, he can only go to a handful of clubs. When Erling makes the next step, he must be the finished product, perfect. He is very, very good.
“He must improve some details. Robert [Lewandowski] was complete when he left for Bayern [Munich on a free transfer in 2014]. It was clear: He went straight into the starting line-up.
“But as a counter-example, Ousmane Dembele maybe left for Barcelona a moment too early. Erling is far in his development, but he is not complete.”
Raiola has previously said just 10 clubs can sign Haaland.
“It is obvious that everybody is looking at Erling as one of those potential new future stars because it’s so difficult to do what he does at his age at his level,” he said.
“He will be one of the future stars of the next decade because we see that stars such as Ibrahimovic, Ronaldo and Messi are coming to an age where everyone asks themselves: ‘How long can we still enjoy them?’ So everyone is looking for the new generation.
“Only a maximum of 10 clubs can afford to buy [Haaland] and give the platform you would like after you’ve been in Dortmund… and four of those clubs are in [England].
“I don’t think there’s a sports director or trainer in the world who would say ‘not interested’.
“It’s like saying: ‘Is there a Formula 1 team who would not be interested in having Lewis Hamilton?'”
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