Erling Haaland is a retired Danish soccer player who currently works in the executive committee for the European Commission’s Sports Directorate. His next move? Unite Europe, of course! It sounds like he’s already on that path as well…
Erling Haaland is a Norwegian footballer who plays as a striker for Aalesunds. He has been linked with a move to Manchester United, but his agent says that there is no truth in the rumors.
What is Erling Haaland’s next step? After telling Viaplay over the weekend that he felt pressed by his club to “make a decision quickly” about his future, there is a good likelihood that one of the finest players in the world will be on the move in the coming months.
Since joining Dortmund for €20 million from FC Salzburg in 2019, the Norway international has scored 79 goals in 78 games, making him one of the most sought-after players in the world. Every major European club wants to sign him, and with a rumoured €75 million release clause slated to take effect in 2022, teams are scrambling to reach an agreement with his agent, Mino Raiola, and father, Alf-Inge. So, what are his options for travel?
First, we spoke with ESPN’s resident scout about Haaland’s future club.
Real Madrid is my favorite, but I’d want to see him at Manchester City. For that to happen, Pep Guardiola’s attitude on centre-forwards and the club’s approach to the transfer market may have to change. Guardiola prefers technically skilled forwards who thrive at combining, but Haaland would provide City with a more direct danger. He is a natural space traveler, while the City side tends to give a lot of service but lacks the presence of a skilled poacher.
Guardiola’s squad excels in creating opportunities with cut-backs from the wingers, and Haaland scored the majority of his goals in this manner. The size and might of Haaland may be deceiving. Yes, they are key characteristics, but he’s mostly a fantastic finisher who like to lurk in the penalty area.
As a very emotional player, I believe Haaland would do better in the Premier League than in Spain. On big events, he tends to react to the fans and up his game. With the exception of a few high-profile games, LaLiga matches might seem a little regular, particularly at the Bernabeu, where fans expect to be entertained. Real Madrid may be interested in signing him, but City may be a better fit for him as a player. -Kristian Karlsen, Tor-Kristian
The heroes he had as a kid might have an impact on his future decisions. “He was born a striker and has always admired players that score a lot of goals, but two in particular: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo,” Alf-Inge told Tuttosport in 2020. “At Manchester City, he developed a soft spot for Mario Balotelli. He is never content and is continuously training in order to achieve his goal of being the greatest. He’s laser-focused and obsessed with football.”
With that in mind, we enlisted the help of a number of ESPN writers to break down Haaland’s transfer possibilities club by club.
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MADRID IN REAL LIFE (Alex Kirkland)
Pros: Madrid is interested in Haaland and has the financial muscle to execute a deal. The €200 million they were ready to spend on Kylian Mbappe last summer is still a hole in their budget, and the exits of Gareth Bale, Isco, and Marcelo — as well as Eden Hazard if feasible — would clear up a lot of money on the pay bill. Florentino Perez, the president of Real Madrid, wants a dynamic, youthful squad to shine at the newly renovated Santiago Bernabeu stadium, and Haaland fits the description to be one of its stars while learning from the legendary Karim Benzema.
Cons: According to ESPN, the purchase of Mbappe from Paris Saint-Germain remains Madrid’s top goal. The rest of the transfer business comes second. At this point in his career, it’s unclear how Haaland would feel about sharing the limelight with the France striker, or even playing second fiddle to him. Madrid also believes Manchester City is in a strong position to challenge them for Haaland.
Chances of being accepted: 7/10
MANCHESTER CITY is a football club based in Manchester, England (Mark Ogden)
Pros: Moving to the Etihad gives him the opportunity to play under Pep Guardiola in a league that will put his credentials to the test and, in turn, make him a better player. Haaland has shown himself in the Bundesliga and now has to take his game to the next level in the Premier League. City are nearing Bayern-style domination as they move in on a fourth championship in five seasons, thus are a team that can nearly ensure victory despite the quality of rivals like Liverpool and Chelsea. City also creates a plethora of opportunities, something a prolific centre-forward would like.
Cons: City has been without a consistent centre-forward for about 18 months (Sergio Aguero started just seven league games in his final season before leaving for Barcelona last summer). They don’t require a traditional No. 9 to score key goals because of their style of play, which includes as many as six attacking players in certain games. With Haaland on board, City would have to either modify their strategy and play to his strengths, or continue as is and expect him to adjust his game to fit. Neither option is horrible — Haaland would still score goals — but he could be more suited to a side looking for a focal point.
Adapting would be difficult since Guardiola wants that his forwards be multifaceted, comfortable on the ball, and able to integrate into a fluid system. Also, if he joins City, Haaland will be able to put his desire of playing for some of the game’s most storied clubs on hold. City does not allow its top players to go, so he would have to devote his best years to the team.
Chances of being accepted: 7/10
BARCELONA, SPAIN (Sam Marsden)
Pros: There’s little question that Barcelona wants Haaland, and president Joan Laporta met with Raiola and the striker’s father in front of a large audience last year. Barca’s lack of goals in the post-Lionel Messi era has been painfully clear this season, with the club scoring just twice in six Champions League games as they crashed out in the group stages, but the need for a new No. 9 predates Messi’s departure. Haaland is not just regarded as a goal scorer, but also as someone who can energise a struggling team. He’d be a signing, similar to Ronaldinho’s during Laporta’s first president, to lead the squad on the field while also improving their image throughout the globe.
Cons: While Barcelona’s need for firepower is obvious, the €55 million acquisition of Ferran Torres and the return of Ansu Fati from injury are hoped to reverse the team’s fortunes in attack. With that in mind, is it prudent to spend so much money on a striker when you’re already €1.4 billion in debt and have holes in your defense? Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti are being pushed toward the departure door, while Gerard Pique is about to turn 35. Furthermore, despite his fantastic record with Dortmund, Haaland’s success at Camp Nou is not certain. Ibrahimovic is leading a growing line of pricey recruits who have failed to fit in at Barcelona, which includes the recently departed Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho.
Joining chances: 6/10
MUNICH, BAYERN (Tom Hamilton)
Pros: At Bayern, Haaland would have a stronger chance of winning the Bundesliga and Champions League, as well as working under highly regarded young manager Julian Nagelsmann. The Bavarians are renowned fans of the striker, according to ESPN sources, and preliminary conversations have taken place between the club and his agency. However, there are benefits and drawbacks to teaming up with Bayern Munich’s best striker, Robert Lewandowski. Without a doubt, Lewandowski would make an excellent instructor. Furthermore, if Poland captain Piotr Zielinski chooses to depart at the conclusion of this season (his contract expires in 2023), Haaland is the natural successor.
But Lewandowski, 33, isn’t finished yet. If he remains and his contract is extended, Bayern will have trouble fitting two forwards into their system. Haaland’s short-term plans do not provide for a long-term successor. “Robert Lewandowski is one of our players. For a few more years, he’ll continue to score 30-40 goals “At the start of the year, Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn remarked. Bayern may also be unable to match the salary offered elsewhere, while Haaland’s devotion to Dortmund may prevent him from joining one of their rivals. Furthermore, he has already shown to be a star in the Bundesliga and would most likely want a fresh challenge. Given how desperate the Bundesliga heavyweights are to retain Lewandowski, Bayern may be a better alternative later in his career.
Joining chances: 6/10
MANCHESTER UNITED is a football club based in Manchester, England (Rob Dawson)
Pros: When Haaland left FC Salzburg, Manchester United wanted to sign him, and they’ll be first in line again when he’s ready to go on. They’d acquire one of the finest young attackers in the world, the kind of player who can usher in a new age of glory. Haaland, on the other hand, would become an immediate star at one of the game’s most prestigious clubs. Few clubs can match United’s financial clout or go to greater lengths to improve a player’s reputation. Both of his heroes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, have played there.
Cons: Despite their enthusiasm, United is concerned that they are behind Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester City on Haaland’s desired destinations list. Old Trafford remains a magnet for elite players, but Haaland has made it plain that he wants to win trophies. United hasn’t come close to winning the Premier League since 2013, and they last reached the Champions League final in 2011. There’s a good chance United won’t be in the Champions League next season, and whatever Norwegian ties he had with his former Molde manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, have now vanished with Solskjaer’s dismissal.
Joining chances: 5/10
SAINT-GERMAIN, PARIS Julien Laurens (Julien Laurens)
Pros: If Mbappe leaves, Haaland would be an excellent replacement, and he would thrive with Messi and Neymar as part of a new lethal front three in Paris. Even if Ronaldo was his hero, the chance to play alongside Messi (who will be 35 in June) would be appealing to most players. The Haaland brand finds Paris, both as a city and as a club, to be highly enticing. Raiola, his agent, is well-versed in the area and already represents several of the team’s players. Plus, regardless of whether Mauricio Pochettino or Zinedine Zidane is in charge, Haaland would be a strong contender for the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or.
Cons: Ligue 1 is an excellent league, but Haaland may not consider it a step up from the Bundesliga. Going to LaLiga or the Premier League, for example, may be more appealing since they are larger leagues with larger audiences and greater money, at least in England. Given how tough it will be to replace Mbappe’s shoes at PSG, the post-Mbappe period might be challenging to handle. And, with Messi and Neymar remaining at the club, he won’t be the most well-known player, at least not at first.
Joining chances: 5/10
CHELSEA is a city in England (James Olley)
Pros: If Chelsea were to make an offer, few teams would be able to match it in terms of total financial package. The club’s ruthlessness in seeking silverware, as well as living in London, are obvious draws. The Blues have one of the best managers in the world in Thomas Tuchel, and their position as European champions gives them great optimism for the future.
Romelu Lukaku, in a nutshell. Chelsea were interested in acquiring Haaland before buying Lukaku for €115 million from Inter Milan this summer, according to ESPN, but a deal was too tough to accomplish given the circumstances. There were also rumors that Haaland was undecided about moving to England. In any case, Lukaku’s presence at Stamford Bridge makes a deal for Haaland exceedingly improbable. Before any trade could be truly considered, Lukaku would have to be moved on, which isn’t impossible considering his contentious remark last month in which he hinted at a return to Italy.
Chances of being accepted: 4/10
JUVENTUS is a Latin word that means “new beginning” (Andrew Cesare Richardson)
Pros: Although it is an improbable destination for Haaland, any trade involving a player handled by Raiola must always include Juventus. The Italian side has a solid history with Raiola, having previously signed Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi, and Matthijs de Ligt, among others. Haaland joining Juve would be similar to his time at Dortmund in that it would be evident that he was only there for a short time, but he would continue to progress, score goals, and maybe contend for major championships.
Finances are a disadvantage. Juve just does not have the financial resources to compete, whether in terms of transfer fees or salaries. Furthermore, Haaland is likely to want to join a club that is vying for the most prestigious prizes, which isn’t Juventus at the moment. Despite the fact that manager Massimiliano Allegri was rehired in the summer, the team is farther away from winning the Champions League than ever before, and will have to work hard simply to qualify this season. Juve’s best chance of landing Haaland is to wait until the end of his contract to see if he can be enticed on a free transfer.
Joining chances: 1/10
DORTMUND IS THE PLACE TO BE. (Photo credit: Tom Hamilton)
Pros: While Haaland was a revelation at FC Salzburg, his transfer to Dortmund catapulted him into a new level of football, and the Westfalenstadion’s legendary “Yellow Wall” adores him. Staying at BVB for another season will only increase interest in him, and it may be able to purchase his preferred choices another year in order to shore up their pandemic-stricken finances and offer more money. The club will aim to persuade Haaland to sign a new contract that eliminates, or at the very least raises, his €75 million release clause. “We’re trying to convince Erling to stay with Dortmund, and I don’t believe we’ve got a chance,” director Sebastian Kehl stated earlier this year. “There are surely a few more reasons why Haaland is in excellent hands at Dortmund and why we, as a club, can continue to be an excellent alternative for him.”
Cons: By placing pressure on him, Dortmund may have burnt their bridges. Haaland’s candid comments indicated that he was dissatisfied with the club’s handling of the matter, and he is sure to be offered multiple mega-deals that they will be unable to match. He could also decide that now is the best moment to travel overseas and try his luck in a different league. Dortmund’s prospects of winning silverware this season are as slim as they’ve ever been, with the club six points behind Bayern at the top of the Bundesliga and knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage.
5/10 chance of sticking
Frequently Asked Questions
What team is Erling Haaland going to?
A: He is going to the Blackhawks.
Is Erling Haaland going to Barcelona?
A: Unfortunately, I do not have enough information on this topic to answer your question.
Is Haaland going to join Real Madrid?
A: This is not yet known.
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