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Soccer

Double blow for Barcelona as City’s Haaland move complicates Lewandowski deal

Erling Haaland is expected to move to Manchester City, which will make Barça’s attempt to sign Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski more difficult.

Update:
Barcelona to miss out on Lewandowski as Haaland City deal imminent
ANDREAS GEBERTAFP

FC Barcelona and Xavi Hernández have suffered a double transfer blow with the news that Manchester City have all-but tied up a deal for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland. Not only was the Norway striker at the top of Barça’s wish list – although the numbers involved would have made a deal very unlikely given the Camp Nou’s financial situation – but Haaland’s imminent move to the Etihad will also complicate a move for one of Xavi’s preferred alternatives, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.

Xavi recently travelled to Germany to meet with Haaland while he was recovering from injury in Munich and laid out the sporting project on offer on Barcelona. Although Haaland was impressed with the on-pitch aspect of what Barça had to offer – not least making him the standard-bearer for the club for the next decade following the departure of Leo Messi – the financial side of things was still an issue. Barcelona president Joan Laporta eventually pulled the plug on a potential offer due to the demands of the player and his representative, stating that he would not move forward with an operation that “could put the future of FC Barcelona at risk.”

Now, according to a report in The Athletic, City have won the race to sign Haaland, beating Real Madrid to the Norway striker’s signature. While that will not be of huge concern to Florentino Pérez if he managed to land his primary target, Kylian Mbappé, this summer, it has provided another headache for Barça, who have been keeping a close eye on Lewandowski’s situation in Bavaria.

Bayern unlikely to let Lewandowski leave this summer

The Poland captain is out of contract next summer and had apparently intimated he would be interested in a move to Camp Nou having spent most of his career in the Bundesliga, but that depended in large part where Haaland decided to go. The Bayern board had been keeping their cards close to their chest with regards to a move for a direct rival’s star player but had been in contact with Haaland’s representatives to test the water.

Now that their slim hopes of persuading Haaland to remain in the Bundesliga at the Allianz Arena have faded, it is extremely unlikely they will sanction the departure of record-breaking striker Lewandowski, who was signed from Dortmund in 2014.

Xavi: “We have made a football diagnosis. Then there is the economic”

“If I rule him out for us? I’m not going to lie to you, with our economic situation it’s very difficult,” Xavi said of Haaland during a press conference ahead of his side’s game against Celta on Tuesday. “City have a lot of titles and compete at a top level. If what you say happens, it would’ve been because of our financial issues.

“This year is not positive and we have to reinforce ourselves,” Xavi added. “All who come will be welcome. People have to leave. The situation is not easy, it is one of the most difficult in the history of the club. But we have to strengthen ourselves. There is evidence and everyone has seen it. We have made a football diagnosis. Then there is the economic. We are very clear about what we want for next year and we will try to do everything that can be done.”

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