SOCCER

Haaland: Guardiola and Manchester City block Real Madrid's path to Dortmund striker

Pep Guardiola has instructed Manchester City to move for Erling Haaland, but the Dortmund forward has told Raiola he wants to play with Mbappé at Real Madrid.

0
Haaland: Guardiola and Manchester City block Real Madrid's path to Dortmund striker
INA FASSBENDER AFP

Pep Guardiola has placed himself in the path of Real Madrid’s move to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, with the Manchester City manager instructing the club to make a definitive push for the Norway international, who has also been heavily linked with Barcelona. However, Haaland has informed his agent, Mino Raiola, that he wants him to secure a move to Real Madrid this summer, where he hopes to link up with Kylian Mbappé. The France forward is widely expected to make the move from PSG to the Bernabéu when his contract expires and Haaland is keen on forming a partnership.

City’s vast resources have altered the panorama, given that Real Madrid cannot hope to compete in a bidding war with the Premier League side. Florentino Pérez and his board will also be unable to take on Haaland’s fee and salary without first pruning Carlo Ancelotti’s squad. Madrid are aiming to free up the funds so sign Mbappé organically when the contracts of Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Isco expire in June, but to also add Haaland to the squad will require further departures. Offers for Eden Hazard will also be entertained, but the Belgian would prefer to remain at the Bernabéu and see out his contract.

Guardiola and City make Haaland a priority

To Madrid’s economic issues can now be added Guardiola’s insistence that City do everything possible to bring Haaland to the Etihad. Guardiola has lost Sergio Agüero and Ferran Torres since the end of last season and now has only Gabriel Jesus as a recognized striker, having previously deployed the Spain international in that position, hence his desire to acquire Haaland.

The only advantage Real Madrid hold in the race for the Norway international is his desire to team up with Mbappé at the Nuevo Bernabéu and resurrect the Galáctico strategy Pérez employed in his first tenure as president at the beginning of the 2000s. That is what Haaland has told Raiola, who has recently thawed his standing with the Madrid board after several years of icy, almost non-existent, relations between the two parties. The super-agent has visited Madrid’s Valdebebas training complex with Haaland’s father, which was seen as the first step in a bridge-building exercise on the player’s instructions ahead of talks over a potential move.