Erling Haaland’s father, Alf-Inge Haaland, and agent Mino Raiola held talks with Barcelona and Real Madrid on Thursday about a possible transfer for the superstar Borussia Dortmund.
Alf-Inge Haaland and Raiola flew to Barcelona on Thursday morning for a two and a half hour meeting with new Barca president Joan Laporta and the club’s new football director Mateu Alemany.
Sources told ESPN that the meeting is a first step in examining the feasibility of a deal, with the talks being at a very early stage. The couple then flew to Madrid, reached Barajas Airport on Thursday afternoon and had talks with Real Madrid that lasted into the evening.
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Sources told ESPN that the Madrid meeting was “friendly” and “like the one we often hold on to players”.
Raiola and Haaland wanted to know more about Real Madrid’s intentions and summer plans, while Florentino Perez wanted to know firsthand details about the player’s situation.
Sources said if Madrid chose the Norwegian they would feel they would have an advantage over Barca given their relationship with Borussia Dortmund and a more favorable financial situation.
Sources added that Dortmund are aware of the meeting between Haaland’s representatives and that other clubs are expected to try to discuss a transfer with the player. Haaland held similar rounds of talks with interested clubs, including Manchester United, before leaving FC Salzburg to join Dortmund in January 2020.
Dortmund’s sports director Michael Zorc said later on Thursday: “I don’t mind [Mino Raiola and Alf-Inge Haaland] enjoy the sun in the Mediterranean. We have spoken and our position is pretty clear. I’m very, very relaxed about this because I know what we want. “
The 20-year-old Haaland has scored 49 goals in 49 games for Borussia Dortmund since signing for the Bundesliga club. A release clause in his contract won’t come into effect until 2022, and ESPN has reported that Dortmund would accept 180 million euros this summer.
Sources told ESPN that Laporta believes Haaland is a strategic signing that would empower Barca for a decade or more and prevent them from joining a rival. However, there is an acceptance that Barca’s financial situation will make the deal more difficult, as will competition from Real Madrid and Manchester City.
Barca are aware that moving to Madrid would be attractive to Haaland while the city’s economic firepower makes them serious competitors. Laporta and Superagent Raiola have a longstanding relationship, but these conversations are the first official contact about a possible deal for Haaland. Sources said the role of Barcelona technical secretary Ramon Planes, whom Raiola knows and trusts, could also play a key role.
Barca were considering moving to Haaland in 2020 before ruling out an offer from then sporting director Eric Abidal. The club is investigating lines of credit that would make a deal possible, just like they did when Antoine Griezmann signed in 2019.
Sources told ESPN that Haaland’s profile as a young up and coming talent matches that of Ronald Koeman’s new Barcelona team. His signing would also be seen as an important statement and a powerful argument in convincing Lionel Messi to renew his contract, which expires this summer.
Barca are also working to cut their wage bills – all the more so if Messi chooses to stay – and would have to switch to high earners like Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti and even Griezmann.
ESPN Germany correspondent Stephan Uersfeld contributed to this report.