With the season finales approaching all over Europe, it is not only the football being played that people are talking about. Don’t get me wrong, winning titles are still the pinnacle of the season, but a couple of people have captured a lot of attention, too. With Erling Braut Haaland and Lionel Messi looking at the possibility of moves away from Dortmund and Barcelona, their next destinations could determine who wins the Champions League for the foreseeable future, especially (albeit unlikely) if they end up together.
So, enter Mino Raiola.
“Who’s that?” I hear you ask…
Mr. Raiola is Haaland’s agent. He recently went on a business trip to Spain to chat with Barcelona and Real Madrid officials. Both of which are eager to bring the Norwegian to their respective clubs. Real Madrid have targeted Haaland as the player that can take the club back to the top of Europe, while Barcelona are trying to convince a certain Argentine that they are still capable of fighting for trophies.
Barcelona, who tend to do things on the sly, wanted the world to see that the talks were going on. However, there’s absolutely no way they can afford to buy Haaland, or pay him a reasonable wage, unless they offload Ousmane Dembele, or Antoine Griezmann. As for Real Madrid, they could match the £100+ million transfer fee that Dortmund will demand and give him a lucrative contract. Yet, the feeling is that Haaland will not be enticed by that. In fact, I will be shocked if he is playing in Spain come the start of next season.
At the start of the season, Barcelona were in disarray. All of it caused by departed club president, Bartomeu. Since then, a lot has changed, and Messi seems to be more than happy on the pitch, and quiet off it. However, football fans, owners and officials still know that he hasn’t signed a new contract, or given an indication to what he is thinking. Understandably, as football fans, we have a lot of unanswered questions…
Will he finally leave Barcelona, or not? If he leaves, then where will he go?
I am confident Messi will stay. Messi is Barcelona, and Barcelona is Messi. However, if he chooses to leave, then he has earned that right.
Got the hots for Haaland
Haaland still has a contract with Dortmund until 2024, yet his agent is publicly having meetings. You’d think this would upset his current club, but Dortmund are always happy to sell their stars if offered a fair price. In fact, Dortmund are the only club that I know who act as a feeder for their biggest rival – Bayern Munich.
Could you imagine Fenerbahce and Galatasaray, Boca Juniors and River Plate, or the Manchester clubs doing this. Don’t worry though Dortmund fans, Haaland will not be following in the footsteps of Gotze, Hummels, lewandowski etc. His immediate future lies in a different country altogether.
Likelihood is that he will stay at Dortmund for another season, unless Man City come calling. City need a striker as Gabriel Jesus is not good enough, and Sergio Aguero will be leaving on a free. Plus, Haaland’s father, Alf-Inge Haaland, captained Man City before his career was ended by the happy-go-lucky Roy Keane. That alone is likely to push baby Haaland to continue what his father started almost two decades ago.
Luckily, the Champions League quarter final matches will allow for Pep Guardiola to get a view of the Norwegian striker in action, and for Haaland to experience being in the blue side of Manchester.
No matter what happens, expect Man City to make a move for one of the two players, if not both.
What about PSG?
Unfortunately for PSG, they have some issues that need resolving amongst their squad first. Both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are out of contract in the summer of 2022, which is not ideal for the French giants. Even though everyone at the club (including the players) want the deals to be done, there are some barriers in the way. Mbappe has always wanted to play for Real Madrid, and the Spanish club knows this. They’ve been waiting for the summer of 2021 to try and take Mbappe away from Paris for cheap. Neymar, on the other hand, will definitely sign if Messi comes, and probably sign if he doesn’t. For how much though? His last contract was worth a whopping $350m, and he will likely want a raise.
Despite these figures, PSG will try and bring in another superstar. Messi is the more likely option, but definitely not the obvious choice.
So, who then?
Just this Portuguese guy called Cristiano Ronaldo. What a front three that would be with Neymar and Mbappe feeding the hungry Ronaldo.
Or… if we want to dream a little… PSG sell both Neymar and Mbappe, then bring in Messi, Ronaldo and Haaland…
I know, I know.
Never going to happen!