Lionel Messi: New Barcelona president vows to keep star
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Barcelona president Joan Laporta is prioritising a move for Erling Haaland instead of Neymar, according to reports. The latter has halted contract talks with PSG because of his desire to return to the Nou Camp. But a transfer may not necessarily be on the cards this summer.
Barcelona recently announced Laporta as their new president, with the Spaniard replacing Josep Maria Bartomeu in the role.
And he’s determined to sign a marquee name to signal the start of a bright new era.
Barcelona are still yet to replace Luis Suarez, who was controversially allowed to join Atletico Madrid back in the summer transfer window.
As a result they’re interested in Haaland, who has scored 31 goals in the Bundesliga and Champions League for Borussia Dortmund this term.
And while Neymar is keen to return to Barcelona, Diari ARA have claimed Haaland is very much their priority at the current moment in time.
Signing the Borussia Dortmund star won’t be straightforward, however.
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While Barcelona recently talked with the player’s agent, Mino Raiola, he also held talks with Real Madrid on the same day.
Los Blancos are keen on Haaland as they hunt a superstar replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who left for Juventus three years ago.
Manchester United are admirers of the Dortmund striker, too, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer previously managing his compatriot at Molde.
Manchester City have, publicly, ruled out a deal.
But Pep Guardiola would love to bring Haaland to the Etihad Stadium and field him alongside the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez in attack.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is another Haaland admirer.
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And reports have suggested he’s even willing to use Timo Werner as part of a swap deal to ensure the Dortmund star moves to Stamford Bridge this summer.
Raiola has previously claimed only 10 clubs on the planet have the financial might required to sign Haaland, who continues to go from strength to strength.
“It is obvious that everybody is looking at Erling as one of those potential new future stars because it’s so difficult to do what he does at his age at his level,” he said.
“He will be one of the future stars of the next decade because we see that stars such as Ibrahimovic, Ronaldo and Messi are coming to an age where everyone asks themselves: ‘How long can we still enjoy them?’ So everyone is looking for the new generation.
“Only a maximum of 10 clubs can afford to buy [Haaland] and give the platform you would like after you’ve been in Dortmund… and four of those clubs are in [England].
“I don’t think there’s a sports director or trainer in the world who would say ‘not interested’.
“It’s like saying: ‘Is there a Formula 1 team who would not be interested in having Lewis Hamilton?'”
Raiola also insisted everybody ‘was wrong’ about Haaland – and hinted he should have moved his client to a bigger club than Dortmund.
“With Haaland, everybody was wrong,” Raiola told the Athletic recently.
“He did things much quicker than everybody imagined.
“Haaland is in front of his own development. He is ahead of his own schedule.
“Maybe I was too careful when I said ‘oh no, let’s move to Dortmund instead of I-don’t-know-where’.
“This boy – I’m 100 per cent convinced and everybody’s convinced – can come to any club, wherever he wants, already on this level.
“And he could have done that last year. But maybe there were still teams saying, ‘Oh, he was in Red Bull, can he do it at another club?’
“He is quicker than his own prediction.”
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