With a number of reports suggesting Manchester United have cooled their interest in Erling Haaland while others have suggested they are stepping it up, The Athletic have now explained how both can be true.
United lost the race to sign the Norwegian in January 2020, partly due to the fact that they refused to agree to a €75 million release clause in his contract.
That release clause comes into effect in June 2022, at which point Haaland will be able to walk into virtually any club in the world. Clubs rich enough to steal a march on their rivals are therefore plotting a raid this summer by tempting Dortmund with a figure in excess of that amount.
United are one of those clubs but ‘are guarded against entering into another transfer saga with Borussia Dortmund for striker Erling Haaland after spending 10 weeks trying to negotiate a lower fee for his team-mate Jadon Sancho last summer,’ The Athletic explains.
‘United executives will privately be urged to assess whether Haaland is a viable option, and exit the race quickly if the cost is judged too high, so that other centre-forward targets can be pursued’.
Knowing Dortmund, the cost almost certainly will be too high, although CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has warned that they may be forced to sell one of their top stars if they fail to qualify for the Champions League. They currently lie fifth in the Bundesliga, seven points behind Eintracht Frankfurt in fourth with just six games to play.
Nonetheless, figures of around €150 million (£130m) have been reported.
There is also the issue of Haaland’s wages. The Mirror ran a report yesterday claiming that agent Mino Raiola wants to make Haaland the first ever £1 million per week footballer. Whether or not that is exaggerated, he certainly will not come cheap.
‘Clubs in pursuit of Haaland have been made aware that signing him would break wage structures across Europe as agent Mino Raiola and the 20-year-old’s ex-footballer father Alfe-Inge continue to lay the groundwork for a money-spinning summer transfer,’ The Athletic confirms.
‘Significant intermediary payments to Raiola and Haaland senior are also a factor, before even considering the expected fee due to Dortmund.’
With Pep Guardiola recently saying that Manchester City would not countenance paying over £100 million for a player and with no other club – except perhaps Chelsea – having the finances to do so either, the most likely scenario right now seems to be that Haaland will stay at Dortmund this summer.
That will mean less money for Dortmund, for Raiola and, ultimately, for Haaland, but the demands of all three seem so unrealistic in the current climate that nobody, United included, will come to the party unless they are revised.