Alongside Paris Saint Germain’s Kylian Mbappe, Norwegian striker Erling Haaland is Europe’s most in-demand player in world football.
Borussia Dortmund’s jewel has shown plenty in his year-and-a-half playing in the German Bundesliga, as well as in the Champions League. Haaland was linked with many of the European powerhouses over the past 12 months, including the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Juventus, or Bayern Munich.
His numbers speak for themselves. Over the two legs of the Champions League’s last 16-phase clash with Spanish side Sevilla, Haaland scored four of the five goals that put Dortmund through 5-4. Haaland now holds the record for the youngest player ever to reach 20 goals in the Champions League. He did it in just 14 games, too. It took legends Messi and Ronaldo 40 and 56 games, respectively, to reach the same number of goals.
Since moving from Salzburg to Germany in January 2020, the 20-year-old scored an impressive 49 times in 49 games at Borussia across all competitions. Before Dortmund paid his release clause of $22 million and convinced him to sign, Haaland had the opportunity to join teams like Manchester United or Juventus. He turned down both, as he believed his development would be better off in Germany.
Now, it seems Borussia is too small for his ambitions. In spite of Haaland’s fantastic goal-scoring record, the Dortmund club sit outside the four Champions League seats awarded to the German league. Borussia is four points behind Eintracht Frankfurt with eight games left to play in the Bundesliga. They have also been drawn to face Manchester City in the Champions League quarterfinals, so the chances for an exit this month are high. City is the favorite to advance from the tie; odds have the English giants at -600, while Dortmund is +500.
City’s on the hunt
Haaland has a release clause of $90 million at Borussia Dortmund, but it’s only valid starting in June 2022. The big clubs in Europe will try to have him as soon as possible, even though the cost of his transfer will be at least two times bigger. Borussia believes a $210 million fee would be an appropriate one to allow their most valuable asset change countries.
With Manchester City just announcing the departure of star striker Sergio Aguero at the end of the season, an attempt to sign Haaland would make all the sense in the world. The English paper The Sun reports that the total cost of Haaland’s transfer could reach as much as $415 million. Apart from the transfer fee, City would need to meet the player’s immense wage demands. According to the paper’s sources, Haaland is seeking $825K per week. If accepted by City, the wages would put Haaland at the top of Premier League’s highest-paid players.
City manager Pep Guardiola has put Haaland on his shortlist next to Tottenham captain Harry Kane, who is regarded as an impossible target at the moment. Tottenham isn’t willing to negotiate a move for its most important player with any of the interested clubs.
Haaland’s national team frustration
In the Bundesliga, Haaland needed just 68 shots for his 21 goals this season. In the Champions League, his numbers are even better: just 21 shots for 10 goals. But things are different at the National team, it seems. In the three World Cup qualifiers at the end of last month, against Gibraltar (3-0), Turkey (0-3), and Montenegro (1-0), Haaland shot 13 times with no luck.
Since he started playing regularly at Salzburg at the beginning of the 2019/2020 season, Haaland has never had three consecutive games at the club or national team level without scoring.
His lack of form with the National team didn’t hurt his chances of finishing on top in the Champions League top goalscorers’ rankings. He’s at -300 while his main rival, Kylian Mbappe, is at +800. Mbappe scored six times as the teams head to the quarterfinals. His team, PSG, will challenge last season’s winners Bayern Munich for a place further into the competition.