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Premier League clubs mustn’t wait until the summer to try and sign Erling Haaland

December 21, 2021

Almost as soon as Erling Haaland played his first Borussia Dortmund game, there was speculation over which club’s shirt he would wear next, writes Graham Ruthven.

The Black and Yellows were always meant to be a stepping stone for the Norwegian striker with Dortmund’s sales pitch to Haaland based on how they would give him a platform to earn a mega-money move to one of Europe’s elite at some point in the future. For Haaland, the future might already be here.

The $110m release clause written into Haaland’s Borussia Dortmund contract, which will become active this summer, is almost certain to start a feeding frenzy among the continent’s biggest clubs. Indeed, Barcelona, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Real Madrid are all believed to be interested and ready to make their move.

Why, however, would Haaland’s suitors wait until next summer to sign the 21-year-old when the stakes are so high? Haaland isn’t just European football’s next great goalscorer, he is already among the very best at putting the ball in the back of the net. There isn’t a team anywhere the Norwegian wouldn’t immediately improve.

$110m for Haaland would represent a relative bargain given the money thrown around elsewhere in the transfer market in recent times, but suitors could find themselves squeezed out by the time the Dortmund striker becomes available for this price point. The queue to sign Haaland will be a long one.

January could present clubs with the opportunity to skip the queue. With Borussia Dortmund out of the Champions League before the last 16 and nine points off the top of the Bundesliga, Haaland might welcome an early change of scenery while the Westfalenstadion outfit would surely entertain the idea of selling their prize asset for as much money as possible before the price becomes a fixed one.

Haaland’s Premier League admirers would likely be in the best position to make a move in January. Barcelona and Real Madrid have both been linked, but might not have the money to find such a big transfer before the end of the season. Chelsea, Liverpool and the two Manchester clubs, however, may not have such budgetary issues.

Chelsea spent $165m on Lukaku only last summer, but the Belgian has struggled to find a truly suitable role in Thomas Tuchel’s team. Liverpool still lack an orthodox frontman, as do City after their failure to land Harry Kane, while United must rejuvenate their ageing frontline at some point in the near future. All four Premier League clubs have good reason to be interested in Haaland this January.

Some could consider paying over the release clause for a player just a few months before that release clause becomes active to be reckless, but Haaland’s suitors must consider consider the cost of missing out on a generational talent like the Norwegian. The opportunity to sign a goalscorer of Haaland’s ability and potential doesn’t arise very often.

A generation shift is taking place at the top of the sport. While Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo set the standard for over a decade, a new group of future superstars are rising and Haaland is at the vanguard of that group. The Norwegian’s suitors aren’t just pursuing a goalscorer, they are chasing a stake in the future.

January is commonly a difficult time to get deals done, but Haaland is on the top shelf of the transfer market ready for someone to reach for him. There are several teams counting on the Norwegian striker picking them over the rest of the competition. Those who really want Haaland will surely put an offer in front of him next month.

 

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