Manchester United’s Premier League rivals Chelsea are preparing a massive bid to take Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund to Stamford Bridge this summer, according to reports.
90min claims that the Blues are preparing a £150 million bid for the Norwegian, despite the fact that he has a €75 million (£65m) release clause that takes effect in less than a year’s time.
If Chelsea are successful in landing Haaland, it will come as a double blow to United, who not only are still desperate to sign the player, but also would not want to see one of their biggest rivals strengthened by the addition of such a prolific striker.
‘Chelsea have already held lengthy talks with Haaland’s camp, which is led by agent Mino Raiola, and  personal terms are not an issue,’ reporter Jamie Spencer writes.
‘Chelsea are now looking into the finer details of bidding up to £150m for Haaland, although they would still prefer it to be closer to £135m given the vast expense.
‘But because it is not a release clause it is possible to stagger a payment structure, [which] would help the Blues avoid any Financial Fair Play risks, while a 20-year-old Haaland is an investment both for now and the long-term.
‘Dortmund have previously made it clear that they will refuse to sell Haaland … but a source … has told 90min that was when the potential fee was £100m. It is now a different situation with figures between £135m and £150m being talked about.’
If the report is true, United will only be able to wait and hope that Thomas Tuchel is unable to clinch the deal, as the Old Trafford club’s owners simply would not release the funds to compete at that level.
If Chelsea fail then United can fight on a level playing field next summer at that £65 million mark, although both clubs will face stiff opposition, with Real Madrid, Manchester City and Liverpool all also likely to throw their hats into the ring.
United would then be back to hoping that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s history and personal connection with the player would be enough to persuade him to come to Old Trafford, although those same advantages did not prove enough to convince him in January 2020 when he chose Dortmund in a straight race between the two clubs.
Of course, a year is a long time in football and City and Real are currently hotly pursuing Spurs’ Harry Kane and PSG’s Kylian Mbappé, respectively.
Chelsea themselves are rumoured to be keen to bring former United man Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge, where he started his Premier League career.
If any of those transfers were to come to fruition, it might take a couple of runners and riders out of the Haaland race and give United a better chance of realising their dream.
One thing is almost certain; with Edinson Cavani coming to the end of his time at United next June, Solskjaer will be desperate to sign a striker over the course of the next 12 months and Haaland would no doubt be his first choice.