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Erling Haaland is Real Madrid’s priority for 2024

Madrid reactivate the plan to sign the Norwegian in 2024, when his City release clause becomes active.

Los números de Erling Haaland que amenazan cifras de van Nistelrooy, Mohamed Salah y Cristiano Ronaldo
JASON CAIRNDUFFAction Images via Reuters

Real Madrid have reactivatedOperation Haalandand now consider him their priority signing for 2024, independent of whether Kylian Mbappé arrives or not. The Spanish club are making the required adjustments and preparatory moves in order to be the best positioned club should the player decide to move away from City that year. According to AS’ own information, his price tag sits somewhere between €220 and €240 million.

In completely opposite fashion to how things played out in 2022, on this occasion the timing is perfect for Madrid to seal the Haaland signing. The club is set to offer an extra year to Karim Benzema, which would take him up to 2024, and they could have the Norwegian lined up as the perfect replacement when Benzema finishes at the club. From now on, Madrid will take up a position close to the City striker in order to be in pole position for his signature when the time comes.

Do Pep Guardiola and Haaland have a joint contract?

These strings were already pulled in 2022 but the difference was that Karim was in the form of his life (so much so that he won the Ballon d’Or) and the Haaland deal became ‘Mission Impossible’, despite the player and his family being ready to get the ball rolling with the transfer. As for 2024, everything will still depend on the Norwegian, and whether or not a change of scenery is something he wants, which obviously ties in with his emotional state at City. In any case, the release clause remains the same for 2025 and 2026; Haaland’s contract finishes a year later, when he turns 25.

Real Madrid have an exact knowledge of Haaland’s deal with City and they know his signing is a possibility. Specifically, they are relaxed when it comes to the latest revelations that suggest Haaland’s release clause is related to Pep Guardiola’s contract, who has renewed until 2025.

Although the Catalan may have been one of the motivating factors behind Haaland’s move to City, it is in fact not true that their contracts are linked. In Manchester there is now a sense of worry over Haaland and his future. So much so that they tried to publicly deny the existence of a release clause (Guardiola: “They are only rumours, there is no specific clause”) and then afterwards the ‘news’ filtered out regarding Pep and Erling’s ‘linked’ deal. Not true.

Pep Guardiola, entrenador del Manchester City, da instrucciones a Erling Haaland durante un partido.
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Guardiola and Haaland's contract do not depend on each other.PHIL NOBLEREUTERS

Real Madrid want to create a super-Madrid

In Madrid the calculators are out an clicking away regarding the possibility of uniting Haaland, Mbappé and Vinicius together as Real Madrid’s super-galáctico front three for the new Santiago Bernabéu.

For the summer of 2024, when Mbappé is a free agent and Haaland moves closer, the club will have chalked off a huge percentage of the current wage bill. After this point, Benzema, Modric, Hazard and possibly even Kroos will no longer be at the club. Between the four of them, Madrid will save upwards of €50 million alone on wages, money that can be put into paying the two aforementioned stars in the case that they can arrive at the same time.

In any case, the Mbappé topic continues to be the thorn that sticks out of every office chair in the Santiago Bernabéu, such was the snub from the player to Florentino Pérez last summer. Haaland, on the other hand, is showing game by game that he is the striker of the future. His numbers are simply mind-blowing: 42 goals in 37 games for Manchester City. Of those, 28 in 26 Premier League games and 10 in 6 Champions League games. Simply incredible.

Haaland is more than a monster boy, he’s a poster boy too

But Haaland is much more than a goal machine: he is a publicity gold mine. Over the next few days, his new contract with Nike will be announced and this is a relationship that will last 15 years and will pay Haaland over €20 million a year. As it is a contract that will have been signed before his move to Madrid, it is something that is 100% Haaland’s. Madrid have the tradition of taking a 50% share of their players’ image rights, but only if they sign the sportswear deal after arriving at the club. Haaland, like in many aspects of his life, is simply different.