The stage could be set for an Erling Haaland transfer to the Premier League next summer, with Real Madrid reportedly giving up hope of landing his signature.
Los Blancos had supposedly harboured hopes of bringing in both Haaland and Kylian Mbappe in the summer of 2022, but now will put all their efforts solely into acquiring the French forward from PSG.
That would leave Manchester United and Chelsea open to battle it out the Borussia Dortmund striker – one of the stars tipped for success in the new issue of FourFourTwo, on sale now.
While United and Chelsea are often tipped as the frontrunners in the race for Haaland, Manchester City and Liverpool have both been linked with the 21-year-old too. City have played much of this season without a recognised No.9 since the departure of Sergio Aguero in the summer, while Liverpool's first-choice forward trio of Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are all in their late-20s and early-30s.
One reason there is such clamour over the potential of Haaland moving next year is that he reportedly has a minimum fee release clause of just £64 million – widely seen as a cheap deal for a player of his talents.
And though Real Madrid were thought to be one of the teams hoping to land his signature, reports from Spain now suggest they are no longer expecting to place a bid.
According to The Sun, Spanish journalist Josep Pedrerol has revealed that "Real Madrid assumes that Haaland will play in England next year and they have it ruled out."
With PSG landing Lionel Messi just a few months ago, and Barcelona and Italian clubs in dire financial straits, that leaves a move to England as the most obvious next step for Haaland.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.