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Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea or Leeds United: Where will Erling Haaland end up?

Erling Haaland
(Image credit: Getty)

Fancy an elite European striker with a record of a goal a game for a bargain? Course you do.

Erling Haaland has lit up every stage he's graced in his young career. The Borussia Dortmund frontman first burst onto the international scene at Red Bull Salzburg and hasn't slowed down, developing into one of the most sought-after young talents in the world. 

Intriguingly, he has a release clause of £68m coming into effect in 2022. Every club on Earth would take him for that much, surely - so there's been talk of a bidding war this summer, as the aristocracy of Europe seeks to steal a march and outbid each other.

Where's Haaland going though? 

Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has long been a fan of his countryman. He pushed to sign Haaland - who he worked with at Molde - when the striker swapped Salzburg for Dortmund and the reports are that his admiration hasn't dwindled.

Haaland would be an undisputed superstar at Manchester United. With the club also keen on teammate Jadon Sancho, signing the Norwegian would be the start of a new era. He would give Solskjaer the sheer output that could sway titles back to the red side of Manchester and in an attack that also contains Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford, the Red Devils would immediately become an elite world force again.

The club aren't frontrunners for Haaland's signature, though. Negotiations reportedly went poorly when they tried to secure the striker first time around - not to mention how badly United came off in the Sancho saga with Dortmund. Mino Raiola, who represents Haaland, Pogba and Mkhitaryan, has an ever-straining relationship with Old Trafford, too. And anyway, would Erling forgive United for the horror tackle Roy Keane made on his father, Alf?

The deal would depend on United learning from past mistakes and going all out for the star. Given that he's top of Ole's wishlist, it wouldn't be a surprise to see. 

Chelsea

Despite the wealth of options available at Thomas Tuchel's fingertips in his new office, Chelsea are apparently eyeing up Haaland to become 2021's marquee signing. Does he fit? Not really. Will that stop them? Probably not.

Haaland is a target man that Timo Werner would thrive alongside, has movement that Kai Havertz would work well with and he's a finisher that Hakim Ziyech would adore. He would undoubtedly improve Chelsea, just at the expense of someone else. 

The Havertz deal implies that director Marina Granovskaia is prepared to bring a player to the club without any obvious need for them, and the Blues' recruitment has shifted towards Bundesliga stars of late. Roman Abramovich has the money to entice Haaland, too - let's not forget that. 

Would Haaland want to go, though? It's not worked out too well for Havertz and Werner just yet and we're still not sure as to whether Tuchel will guide Chelsea to Champions League football next season. Stamford Bridge is an attractive destination, for sure, but a lot depends on the deal. 

Manchester City

Alf-Inge Haaland

(Image credit: PA)

Manchester City is in the Haaland family, given that Erling's dad played for them. And this was before they were as good as they are now. 

City will no doubt pull on that thread if they were to secure Haaland Jr - though signing the Dortmund man would be far from just a nostalgic luxury. Pep Guardiola needs to replace Sergio Aguero sooner rather than later; Haaland is intelligent, physical and ruthless enough to play in City's system and he would no doubt net 25 goals a season in that set-up - at least. 

There are doubts, though. Guardiola doesn't have the greatest track record with natural no.9s and City may wish to avoid dealing with Raiola. Despite their exorbitant wealth, they have a history of letting other clubs outbid them for stars if the price isn't right - see Alexis Sanchez leaving Arsenal for United or Frenkie De Jong moving from Ajax to Barcelona. And anyway, a lack of Champions League pedigree, coupled with the idea that City aren't really a superclub in the bracket of the big boys like Bayern Munich or Real Madrid, may well sway Haaland in another direction.

There's no doubt that it makes sense from a pure footballing point of view. But since when did players ever move for those reasons?

Real Madrid

If reports are to be believed, the end goal for Real is to hook up Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland in their frontline. It would be sensational if it happened.

The idea of the pair in Real Madrid shirts evokes the old Galactico era. There's no reason that player of Haaland's ilk would turn down the Bernabeu; Benzema is aging and anyway, Haaland wouldn't really break the club's current philosophy. Los Blancos want to sign younger players these days and develop them - something that they could do with this signing. 

There might be a snag though - financially. Yes, really. Real Madrid are reportedly in tons of debt and splashing out tens, potentially hundreds of millions on a new striker or two might not be viable right now. The La Liga champions have even gone three windows without a signing. Oh, and Haaland has apparently expressed unhappiness about Real's treatment of international teammate Martin Odegaard, who had to leave on loan to get game time.

Real Madrid would have seemed like the only destination for a player of Erling Haaland's calibre ten years ago. Does that ring true in 2021? 

Barcelona

Barcelona, similarly, have reported cash flow problems. They're trying to tie Lionel Messi down to a new deal and midway through a bold new rebuild - if they did find the money spare, Haaland would be perfect.

It's quite embarrassing for the Catalan club that they terminated Luis Suarez's contract only for him to join Atletico Madrid and rekindle his best form, as Diego Simeone's men run away with the La Liga title. Barca, meanwhile have Martin Braithwaite and Antoine Griezmann as options up front, while the team as a whole have stuttered all season.

Haaland isn't the typical Barca signing. It seems likely that Xavi will become manager in the near future, while presidential elections are in March - and no one has mentioned the Norwegian as a target. Still, he'd suit them right down to the ground, were Barcelona in a position to make a move on him. 

Bayern Munich

Robert Lewandowski is still at his explosive peak but as he slows down, his employers may look to bring another Dortmund talisman over to the Allianz Arena to assume his throne. It's what Bayern Munich do, really.

Haaland hasn't been linked with the Bavarian giants and there's good reason for that. Bayern don't tend to involve themselves in bidding wars with other clubs and they certainly don't pay big money for players - not the kind that would secure Haaland, anyway. While yes, they snare players from rivals, the club are focused on developing starlets like Joshua Zirkzee and Croyden-educated Jamal Musiala rather than whacking eight figures on the obvious option's head. 

Bayern would be a great fit for Haaland: the Bundesliga might as well fold if it happened. The Norwegian will likely want to test himself in other waters, though - this would be a style change for both the club and the player if the transfer actually happened. 

Juventus

Juventus

(Image credit: PA)

Juventus have shown with the signing of Matthijs de Ligt that they're prepared to make a huge bid to bring the next big thing to the club. As Cristiano Ronaldo creaks on into his late 30s, replacing him with another big-ego, high-output, lanky-but-pacy striker wouldn't be the worst idea in the world.

Juve can outbid most and this is a signing that would put a stamp on their new direction of signing young players and playing more aesthetic football. The taxation laws in Italy are no doubt of interest to a number of big stars - just ask Raiola who counts De Ligt and former Juve star Pogba as clientele. Juventus are a huge team capable of European exploits and Haaland would be a star there. 

But is Italy big enough for Haaland? Serie A isn't as lucrative or attractive as the Premier League, while Juve's current state of flux with Andrea Pirlo underwhelming so far perhaps means that another new manager would come in with Haaland, should he join. It seems a bit too soon for the Old Lady to be joining the table on this one. 

RB Leipzig

Why exactly did Red Bull Salzburg allow their biggest and best talent to move to Dortmund, of all clubs? Yes, Haaland agreed terms with them but what if there was an agreement for RB Leipzig to sign him later?

OK, we're 95% sure that's ludicrous. The Red Bull clubs don't sign superstars, they make them. They're not in the market for huge strikers like Haaland. It's a shame in some ways: Haaland would be fantastic under Julian Nagelsmann. Look what the young boss achieved with Werner. 

But given the history between Haaland and the Red Bull Group, we're going to go out on a limb: if RB Leipzig ever make a marquee signing to shock the world, it's going to be this one. 

Leeds United

Alf-Inge Haaland

(Image credit: PA)

Leeds United? Really?

“The dream is to win the Premier League with Leeds,” Erling Haaland told Norwegian paper Aftenposten when he was 16. “In addition, the goal is to become a better player than my dad was. I hope to get more caps than he did.”

Erling was born in the city when his dad played for the club. He is reportedly a fan and despite the surly cold shoulder he reserves for the media, one journalist claimed on Twitter, “I had a chat with him in February and he hung around for 20 minutes after the interview to talk about Yorkshire.”

Anyone who's seen how stroppy Haaland can be will know that he must really love Yorkshire for it to put him in that good a mood. Leeds are back in the big time, with a top manager who could improve Haaland no end. Should this transfer saga turn into the Norwegian picking his own employers... it's only going to end one way.

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