Erling Haaland is contracted to Borussia Dortmund until 2024, with a reported £66m release clause set to come into effect in summer of 2022; Manchester City and Real Madrid have been linked with a move for the striker
Thursday 1 April 2021 16:37, UK
Erling Haaland's representatives have arrived in Barcelona for talks with club president Joan Laporta.
Agent Mino Raiola and Alf Inge, the father of Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland, are in the Spanish city and were collected at the airport by members of Laporta's team.
The pair are expected to meet Laporta, who was elected as Barca president last month.
The talks increase speculation over Haaland's future, although it is unclear how Barcelona would finance a deal with the club wrestling with huge debt, caused largely by the coronavirus pandemic.
Haaland, 20, is under contract at Dortmund until 2024 but has a reported €75m (£66m) release clause, which comes into effect in the summer of 2022.
A host of top clubs have been linked with a move for the Norwegian, including Manchester City and Real Madrid.
Haaland has become one of Europe's biggest names after scoring 48 goals in his first 48 games for the Bundesliga side, after joining from Red Bull Salzburg for just £17m at the end of 2019.
Spanish football expert Alvaro Montero:
"Mino Raiola and Haaland's father Alf-Inge arrived at 9.30am in the morning at El Prat Airport in Barcelona and he was picked up by Joan Laporta's chauffeur and he took them in the car to the Camp Nou. They were there in a meeting for two hours with Laporta. The club has recognised this meeting as a first contact and as an approach.
"Two hours later, they went back to the airport, and by 12.30pm they'd returned to Nice. It's a good question [whether Barcelona can afford Haaland], because we have to remember that in the next two months until June, they have to pay €730m owing to a huge debt they have of more than €1bn.
"They presented an audit a few days ago which recognised they would have losses of €350m for this season. Next season, they will remain in red figures for certain. Counting on keeping Lionel Messi while signing one huge player like Kylian Mbappe or Haaland, they could have green numbers but not until the 2022/23 season."
Analysis from Sky Sports News' Dharmesh Sheth:
"The games have begun.
"A few months before the transfer window opens and we are talking about Haaland and Kylian Mbappe, and dare I say it, sorry Tottenham fans, but we are talking about Harry Kane as well.
"Let's rewind back to January 2020, Borussia Dortmund paid RB Salzburg £20m for Erling Haaland and the strategy and the intention of Dortmund when they bought him was to keep him at the club until the summer of 2022 at the very least.
"Why the summer of 2022? That's when Haaland's release clause kicks in and his release clause is believed to be around £70m, but there are some reports suggesting it could be closer to £100m, potentially.
"I know Dortmund thought Haaland was good, but I don't know whether they thought he was going to be this good. He's a goal a game goal machine. As a result, nearly every big club in Europe wants Erling Haaland to play for them. He is the most sought-after striker alongside Mbappe and potentially Kane as well.
"What it all means is this summer, Borussia Dortmund can ask for what they want for Haaland and the number that's being banded around at the moment is around 150m euros. That's around £130m.
"However, the feeling that I am getting from Germany and our colleagues at Sky in Germany is that Haaland staying for one more year, until the summer of 2022, is seen to be more valuable to Borussia Dortmund than a potential increase in the transfer fee because there could be a huge discrepancy between what they could get this summer and what they can get next summer."
Sheth added: "Add to that, there is another issue. His name is Jadon Sancho. The smart money in Germany is that Sancho will be the one who departs Dortmund this summer.
"From a Borussia Dortmund perspective, I think it is unthinkable, but you cannot rule it out, that Haaland and Sancho would leave in the same transfer window.
"Now, this all represents a bit of a conundrum for Dortmund because if they decide to keep Haaland this summer, yes, they have him another season but they also lose out on tens of millions of pounds in a transfer fee because they'll be forced to sell him for £70m, which is his release clause next summer. Whereas they can get what they want for him now.
"If they decide to keep Sancho this summer then this time next year, he will be entering the final year of his contract. So, the £108m they were quoting to Manchester United last summer, they simply won't be able to ask for that figure for him next time.
"Another factor, Dortmund are four points off the top four in Germany. Champions League qualification is huge for them and they don't qualify for the competition next season, what will Haaland be thinking? What will Sancho be thinking? What will Dortmund be thinking?
"Will they need to cash in? Will Haaland and Sancho say to themselves, we need to agitate for a move because we want to be playing Champions League football?"
Sheth said: "I see this as a bit of a transfer roulette at the moment. Who wants to sign Erling Haaland? Who doesn't? Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG and Bayern Munich, they are all in for him. They'd all be interested in signing him.
"The next question is who can afford him? The number of clubs goes down. Then, the roulette comes into play this summer. Is a club willing to go into the market and pay upwards of £130m to blow everyone else out of the water because if they don't, summer of 2022 they know there is a release clause and then you are going to have seven or eight of the biggest clubs in Europe all vying for the signature of Erling Haaland.
"The games have begun and I think we are going to be talking about Haaland for the next two or three months, throughout this transfer window and right up until Deadline Day, but one thing to bear in mind here is Borussia Dortmund are very stubborn.
"Remember what they did with Jadon Sancho. They wanted £108m by a certain date and if it doesn't happen, he's not getting sold, and they stood by their word. What they've said here is that it is our intention to keep Haaland until eh summer of 2022, but money talks. 150m euros could be the money that talks."
On the Pitch to Post podcast, Jasper Taylor was joined by Sky Sports News' Dharmesh Sheth and skysports.com's Gerard Brand to discuss the options, and likelihood of Haaland leaving in the coming months.
Dharmesh Sheth on the Pitch to Post podcast:
"Man City would be an interesting move. The reports earlier this month were that the frosty relationship between Raiola and Pep Guardiola would not prevent a deal going through. The relationship was soured back in 2010 when Raiola took issue to the way Guardiola was dealing with one of his clients, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while at Barcelona.
"Raiola described Guardiola as a 'coward', 'a dog' and a 'zero person' but those hostilities apparently won't stop a deal being done.
"But we talk about Manchester City and Raiola, but we must remember Manchester United have Paul Pogba in their squad, another Raiola client. Raiola has already spoken out about Pogba in the past wanting to leave, as we know. I don't think what he previously said would have gone down too well with Manchester United."
Gerard Brand on the Pitch to Post podcast:
"Where does he fit in? The answer to that is simple: he fits in anywhere. We talk a lot about potential and wonderkids - and there is plenty of potential bought and sold every summer for £50m, £60m, that's what you pay for potential these days - but I think this is a player who comes along every five or six years, and you do everything to sign him.
"It's hard to say who would be in pole position for this. Yes, Manchester City are running away with the league and often without a proper striker - and Pep actually said earlier this month that City are not a team with a 20-goal striker, because the goals come from everywhere. But I can't see Pep carrying on that way, and I think he will want a forward.
"He also slots in nicely down the road at Manchester United because they have played with a similar centre forward in Edinson Cavani this season and seen a benefit at times. Of course, he will not be there for the long term.
"On first glance at Chelsea, you would think, 'Where does he fit in?' among all that attacking quality, but Timo Werner could actually operate more as a second striker or from the left, plus you would expect Giroud to leave and I am not sure Tammy Abraham can keep Erling Haaland out of a side.
"Then there's Liverpool. They have not been shy in spending in the past - they spent a combined £150m on a defender and goalkeeper in Van Dijk and Alisson - and I am not sure we realise just how big a name Jurgen Klopp still is in Dortmund, and how that might have an impact."