Barcelona have made Erling Haaland their absolute priority for next summer and it is no secret. The Norweigan striker’s exploits at the Signa Iduna Park have opened up several doors for him for next season. Haaland, 21, has been linked with a move to Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, and Paris Saint-Germain.
The 21-year-old has netted 80 times for Dortmund and has also managed to assist on 21 occasions. He has only made 79 appearances for the Schwarz Gelbe, across all competitions. These stats are staggering by any standard and it is clear why several elite European clubs want to invest in him. Haaland is not only an immediate goal-scoring option but also a player who can spearhead his side’s attack for years to come.
Why Barca want to sign Haaland?
If we have learned anything from the last two years it is that Barca’s finances are not in a good shape. The club has recovered to an extent and are now confident of securing the funds to sign Haaland next summer. That said, the last two seasons have seen more departures than signings and this is simply because the club did not have any money to spend on new signings.
One of the main reasons why Los Cules want to sign Haaland is because of the statement that it would send out. The second most important reason is the lack of a proper, long-term number nine in their ranks. Yes, they do have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but he is not really a long-term option. Moreover, the club is prepared to sacrifice Memphis Depay, if it means they will be able to sign the Dortmund star. They are well and truly in the market for a ‘top striker’.
Signing Haaland would also boost the revenue for the club, which includes shirt sales and sponsorships. Barca would also be counting on the 21-year-old to rival Kylian Mbappe, who looks set to join Real Madrid on a Bosman next summer. All in all, Barca are placing their money on Haaland to alleviate their sporting and financial troubles; well, to an extent.
Why Haaland is not really a necessity?
If the former La Liga champions fail to sign Haaland, the money that has been put aside for him can be used to develop their squad in other key areas. Their defense has been their major cause of concern in recent years. Truth be told, there have not been many changes in their backline since the Roma upset in 2017. Yes, they did sign Clement Lenglet but that is it. Now, Barca have Ronald Araujo who has come up the ranks, and Eric Garcia, who has made a return to his boyhood club on a Bosman last summer. Gerard Pique could be playing his last season and the club is looking to sell Lenglet and Umtiti. That being said, Jules Kounde has emerged as a good and solid option for them.
Barca are apparently interested in signing the Frenchman from Sevilla and he could cost up to €80 million, with Sevilla not keen on letting him leave for any price less than what his release clause suggests. The entire ‘Haaland operation’ has been tipped to cost around €270 million, including the signing-on bonuses and wages. Barcelona need a total revamp of their backline barring Ronald Araujo. They are close to completing free transfers for Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta. The Chelsea duo, if they do arrive at Camp Nou, will provide defense depth but cannot be trusted to become permanent starters. The need of the hour at Camp Nou is a marquee center back and a left-back. Currently, Alejandro Balde is the only recognized left-back in the Barca ranks, barring Jordi Alba. The club is said to be looking at Grimaldo to reinforce their left defensive flank, with Alba turning 33 this month.
The club is also said to be at work to sign Noussair Mazraoui on a free deal (as well) from Ajax next summer. Laporta and co. have been very attentive to the free market situation, keeping in mind their chances of signing Haaland. The club is doing everything in their power to compete with Real Madrid and Manchester City, who are in a much better position than the Blaugrana to make a better financial offer to Haaland.
What are the alternatives to Haaland?
Barca have been previously linked with Lautaro Martinez. In the summer of 2020, Martinez was heavily linked with a move to Barca but the latter’s finances meant that they could not splash any cash on him. The rumors have died down a bit but not completely. With that said, other options that the club is said to be keeping a close watch on include Darwin Nunez, Patrik Schick, and Lautaro Martinez.
It remains to be seen what Haaland decides. The final decision will be up to him but with Barca confident about gathering the required funds, one can only assume that Erling will want to join Xavi to rival Kylian Mbappe.
A medical student with an avid interest for the game.