Erling Haaland will sign for Barcelona – letting down Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, PSG and Real Madrid, who all chased the Norwegian at one point.
That's the outlandish claim from Spanish outlet Sport, who cite information from Deportes Cuatro, saying that the Borussia Dortmund superstar would rather not play with Kylian Mbappe, who is bound for Real Madrid.
Cash-strapped Barcelona recently announced the £55m acquisition of Manchester City forward Ferran Torres and would likely slot Haaland into a frontline with him and Ansu Fati. At the presentation of Torres, president Joan Laporta declared, "Everybody should get ready, as we are back as big players in the market."
Sport detail the excitement that the transfer would generate in sparking a brand-new rivalry within the El Clasico tie. For years, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo fought on opposite sides of Barcelona and Real Madrid: should Haaland head to Barca and Mbappe to the Spanish capital, LaLiga will once again see two of the greatest talents of a decade competing in the biggest game of the league season.
While there is cause for excitement for Barca fans, perhaps they should take this story with a pinch of salt.
Barcelona would have to pay an extortionate wage to Haaland – and though they've only just shifted Sergio Aguero off their books, it's likely that other teams could outbid them for the 21-year-old on the salary front.
Manchester City and Manchester United are both in much a better position financially, while Paris Saint-Germain's interest can't be underestimated. If PSG see Mbappe leave, they may well look to replace him with Haaland.
Ultimately, Haaland's agent Mino Raiola will be integral in the deal and will drive a hard bargain for his client. While Barcelona are most certainly in the mix – with the signing of Torres proving they may well have the financial clout to compete at the top level once more – there's absolutely no certainty that they could tempt the most coveted star in world football this summer.
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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. He is a keen player of the Football Manager series and creates Twitter accounts for his Fantasy Premier League team every year, before losing interest in his team every September.
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