United came close to signing the Norwegian prodigy in January 2020 but were pipped at the post by Borussia Dortmund.
One of the reasons the Bundesliga side won the bid was that they accepted the inclusion of a release clause in the striker’s contract of €75 million that would come into effect in June 2022.
United would not countenance such a clause.
However, this has left Dortmund with the choice of losing a player in a year’s time for an amount well below his true value, or selling now at a higher price. They would appear to have decided to hold on to their man unless an astronomical figure is met.
‘The prospective €150 million transfer price, plus agent fees and salary demands of £500,000 per week, which would break many clubs’ wage structures, certainly led United to re-evaluate,’ reporter Laurie Whitwell says.
‘To that end, outgoing executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward recently informed manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that the cost of his Norwegian countryman would be too prohibitive and, by mutual decision to avoid any saga, the Haaland pursuit was put on hold.’
These are eye-watering figures that would test any club’s resolve at the best of times, let alone coming (hopefully) off the back of Covid-19.
With Sergio Aguero set to leave, Manchester City are also in the hunt for a striker this summer, but their manager Pep Guardiola has already stated that the club would not pay that much for one player.
With Real Madrid prioritising Kylian Mbappe and Barcelona in financial turmoil, Haaland therefore looks almost certain to stay in Germany for one more year.
‘Multiple sources believe Dortmund’s public stance that Haaland will in fact stay with them for another season now Champions League qualification has been secured,’ Whitwell writes.
This makes Real Madrid the favourites as they are believed to be Haaland’s dream club and they are also a personal target for agent Mino Raiola.
‘Haaland’s €75 million (£64 million) release clause comes into effect in the summer of 2022. Manchester City were previously confident but there is a school of thought that Real Madrid stand out as the destination of primary desire,’ the reporter concludes.
It is a shame that United are looking increasingly likely to miss out on Haaland a second time next summer, especially given his history with United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the fact that he and the Reds simply seem to be a perfect fit for one another.
But a year is a long time in football and perhaps something could change that swings the pendulum back in United’s favour.