SOCCER

Barcelona upheaval pushes Pogba, Haaland closer to Real Madrid

Mino Raiola, the agent of Erling Braut Haaland and Paul Pogba, is far from convinced that taking his clients to crisis-hit Barcelona is a good idea.

0
Barcelona upheaval pushes Haaland, Pogba closer to Real Madrid
INA FASSBENDER AFP

The turmoil at Barcelona, where Ronald Koeman was fired as head coach on Wednesday, has direct consequences for Real Madrid, at least as far as the summer transfer window is concerned. Los Blancos will have less competition in their pursuit of major targets Erling Braut Haaland and Paul Pogba, both represented by super agent Mino Raiola.

Despite Raiola’s excellent relationship with Barça president Joan Laporta, the Italian - an agent who exerts a huge influence over his clients' choice of destination - is not convinced of the merits of taking two of his top players to the Camp Nou right now.

Laporta keen to make Haaland a statement summer signing

There had been a remote possibility that Haaland and Pogba would end up at Barcelona if the club managed to get several high-earning players of the wage bill at the end of the season. Revenue has been reestablished, and Laporta was looking for additional financing to try and seal the statement signing of Haaland, a player he wanted to make the cornerstone of the new Barça project. His good relationship with Raiola was key to this.

Pogba available on a free at the end of the season

As for Pogba, the Manchester United midfielder will be out of contract next summer and, aside from commissions and the 28-year-old’s salary (he’s keen to maintain the 15m euros net he currently picks up at Old Trafford), he looks like being available for free.

As has been reported by AS, Madrid have made excellent progress in their attempts to snare a player who they do now see as a good transfer-market opportunity, but haven’t signed anything yet (and, according to FIFA regulations, won’t be able to do so until 1 January). In this situation, Barça and their good rapport with Raiola were a threat.

Pogba is out of contract at Manchester United in the summer.

Barcelona upheaval puts agents off, Raiola included

However, Koeman’s sacking has served to light the blue touch paper once and for all on a Camp Nou crisis that hasn’t gone unnoticed among the world’s top agents. In the case of the Blaugrana, two circumstances come together: like Real Madrid, they’re in the midst of renewing their squad after a period of success, but unlike Madrid, whose books are in good shape, Barça also have the handicap of their parlous financial state.

The strife at Barça hasn’t escaped the attention of Raiola, either, as he prepares for a summer in which he’ll have two of the window’s hottest properties on his hands. All eyes will particularly be on Haaland, and Barça now find themselves at the back of the pack of major clubs chasing the Norwegian.

It looks like being a fierce battle between Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain for Haaland’s signature. The Borussia Dortmund striker prefers Madrid, and has made this plain to Raiola. PSG will go all out for Haaland if, as seems likely, Kylian Mbappé goes to the Bernabéu, while Manchester City would be third choice… and, just as is the case with Pogba, crisis-hit Barça face an uphill battle to get their man.