PSG and Madrid change tactics: Ranking the contenders to sign Haaland
Erling Haaland may be stuck on the sidelines as he recovers from an injury at Borussia Dortmund but this short hiatus will do little to dampen the interest in the talented striker.
Indeed, the Norwegian star seems destined for a move to one of Europe’s biggest clubs next summer but it remains to be seen just which continental giant will end up landing his signature.
With salary demands that reportedly start at £30 million (€36 million) per year, only the most elite clubs in Europe will be able to afford Haaland.
So which clubs are currently leading the rest of the pack and look most likely to sign the striker next year?
Struggled to register the players they have this season and stars have taken wage cuts all over the squad. Their finances won’t have sorted themselves sufficiently to allow this type of deal.
9. Atletico Madrid
Diego Simeone’s side would love a striker like Haaland, but their prospects of signing such a talent are slim. They are mired in debt, and while their situation is not as chronic as some of the other clubs mentioned – they have just re-signed Antoine Griezmann, after all – there is scant hope for a move.
8. Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich might have been a probable destination of Haaland had it not been for his gross wage demands. The Bavarian giants will not stand for those demands and that will keep them from being a serious option.
Juventus’ financial situation has improved a little of late. Firstly, they have raised additional capital to boost their economic state, while offloading Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United will save them a vast amount of money in wages. They have the need for a centre forward, but do they have sufficient muscle to attract a player of Haaland’s calibre?
Reports from the Daily Mail suggest that Liverpool are ready to scrap for Haaland. Certainly, there could be reason behind them making a major push for the Norway international star.
With Mohamed Salah’s contract status in limbo, it would be little surprise to see Liverpool regenerate their attack next summer. Haaland is a distant possibility, though. While they may be prepared to spend the necessary money to sign him, they would have to absolutely shatter their wage structure to accommodate him.
Club legend Steve McManaman said the Reds will not be happy with "all the other variables" that come with signing such a player, such as agents fees. Given their recent transfer history, it's hard to disagree.
Chelsea appear to have thrown their lot in with Romelu Lukaku rather than waiting on Haaland.
The pair would likely be too incompatible in the same team, too. Of course, if Lukaku flops or owner Roman Abramovich fancies flaunting his cash, a move is not out of the question, but at this juncture it doesn’t look likely.
4. Real Madrid
Real Madrid have shown in their pursuit of Kylian Mbappe that they are still a team that can pack a punch in the transfer market.
Despite rumours of the club's finances being in turmoil, Madrid have saved a huge amount of money by cost-cutting in the transfer window and as such may have the wage budget to sign both Mbappe and Haaland next season.
However, money may still be an issue, with Spanish sports journalist Josep Pedrerol recently stating that: “Real Madrid assumes that Haaland will play in England next year and they have it ruled out.” It remains to be seen whether Madrid will be able to muster the money and energy required to lure Haaland to Spain.
If PSG lose Kylian Mbappe to Real Madrid, which seems likely to be the case, then they are likely to have a void for a superstar striker come next summer.
Haaland’s profile would be ideal for Neymar and Lionel Messi to feed. PSG certainly have the financial clout to complete such a move and have a strong relationship with Mino Raiola, but will Ligue 1’s lack of competitiveness compared to the Premier League be an issue?
Perhaps, with El Nacional reporting that the club have quickly turned their attentino to Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic instead. A move that was perhaps fuelled by Haaland's lack of interest in a move to Ligue 1.
2. Man Utd
Ronaldo might have joined Man Utd again, but this is a club that needs a long-term solution in the No.9 role.
There is hope that Mason Greenwood might fill the jersey but Haaland certainly looks a better bet. United have shown a willingness to pull off a major moves this summer and should be considered a serious contender – Ronaldo or not.
Indeed, if the club are forced into a hard reset with a new manager this season, a move for Haaland would make plenty of sense. And the Old Trafford side certainly have the deep pockets and prestige to entice the striker to England.
1. Man City
Manchester City are a side with all the ingredients to attract Haaland. They have tremendous spending power, a well-established manager and play in the Premier League. And of course a need for a centre forward. Perhaps missing out on Harry Kane and Ronaldo will not be so bad after all.
What's even more encouraging for the English champions is that a new report from the Times suggests Haaland's agent is planning on meeting with the club in January to discuss contract offers.