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Barcelona target Lyon’s Hegerberg, but can they afford Norway star?

Barça president Joan Laporta has reactivated his interest in signing Lyon and Norway forward Ada Hegerberg, a player the club missed out on in 2022.

Barça president Joan Laporta has reactivated his interest in signing Lyon and Norway forward Ada Hegerberg, a player the club missed out on in 2022.
NTBNTB via Reuters

The scorer of 212 goals in 198 appearances for French giants Lyon, Ada Hegerberg is a player who needs little introduction.

That was also the case back in 2019, when the Norway star, who was the first ever winner of the Women’s Ballon d’Or five years ago, first became a target for Barcelona. The Spanish champions then stepped up their interest in Hegerberg last summer, but failed in their bid to snare the forward, who has won 66 Norwegian caps. Now, according to a Marca report that AS has been able to confirm, Barça are preparing to launch a renewed offensive for her services.

Hegerberg firing in the goals again after long injury absence

Hegerberg is back to her best after missing 21 months of soccer following a double injury blow in 2020: after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament in January 2020, she then suffered a fractured tibia later that year. She had to wait until the 2021/22 season to return to regular action, and in November 2021 showed that she had not forgotten how to score goals, hitting a brace against Paris Saint-Germain in display that confirmed once and for all that she was back. That season, the Norwegian finished up with an excellent haul of 16 goals and seven assists in 27 club games in all competitions.

Laporta goes after Hegerberg after Champions League final

In the most important tournament of all, the Champions League, Hegerberg played a key role in Lyon’s eighth continental title win. In the semi-finals, she scored one and set up another as PSG, the club’s eternal domestic rivals, were beaten 5-3 on aggregate. In the final, she scored the second and laid the third on a plate for Macario, in a 3-1 victory in Turin over defending champions Barça.

Awestruck by Hegerberg’s stellar final performance at the Allianz Stadium, Barcelona president Joan Laporta instructed club directors to get to work on securing her signature.

And having again missed out on the signing of Dutch international Vivianne Miedema, Barça pushed hard for Hegerberg during the off-season. While their successful moves for England pair Lucy Bronze and Keira Walsh captured all the media attention, the club’s pursuit of the 27-year-old was conducted in complete secret. But with Lyon flat-out refusing to countenance her departure, Barça came away empty-handed.

However, Laporta and Hegerberg crossed paths once more at the Ballon d’Or gala in October 2022 - a meeting that rekindled Barça’s hopes of a deal that they’re not giving up on.

Will Hegerberg be too expensive for cash-strapped Barcelona?

As the player is under contract at Lyon until 2024, the Catalans would have to pay a sizeable transfer fee, in addition to offering her an improvement on her reported €420,000-a-year wages (she is the fifth-highest-paid player in the French league, according to L’Équipe). Given Barça’s parlous current financial state, there are major question marks surrounding the viability of such a deal.