Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland has long been linked with moves to Manchester United, Manchester City or Barcelona, but could his next destination be closer to home?
According to reports, Bayern Munich – Borussia’s Bundesliga rivals – are quietly confident of securing the signature of the free-scoring Norwegian international forward at the end of the current season.
With goalscoring sensation Robert Lewandowski approaching the latter stages of his career, Bayern have earmarked Haaland as the ideal long-term successor for the 32-year-old Polish international at the Allianz Arena.
Having signed their main rivals’ forward in 2014 when luring Lewandowski across Germany to Munich, could the reigning UEFA Champions League and Bundesliga champions be about to pull off a near identical swoop?
The issues for Bayern won’t be the price because they can activate his release clause, which is estimated to be between €75 million and €100 million, but whether they can land Haaland ahead of some of their major European rivals.
Newspaper reports suggest that it is Bayern who are leading the way for his signature, but will have to wait until next summer to sign him in 2022 when the release clause can be activated for the 20-year-old.
Bayern’s problem is that Manchester United, Manchester City or Barcelona could opt to make Borussia Dortmund an offer they can’t refuse this summer and get the first move in the race for his signature.
Dortmund are ruling nothing in and nothing out, with chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke quoted as saying: “We’ll discuss this with Erling, his father and his agent Mino Raiola in peace.
“We also want him to stay with us, to score goals next year with conviction. There is no alternative plan.”
Bayern have previously managed to sign Lewandowski, Mats Hummels and Mario Gotze from rivals Borussia and South African bookmakers are slashing odds on Bayern to sign the young Borussia star.
Haaland, the son of former Premier League defender Alf Inge Haaland, has been a goalscoring machine since first breaking into the first-team at Molde in his homeland in Norway as a 16-year-old striker.
Molde signed Haaland from Bryne FK, who he had joined as a five-year-old, and he caught the eye with 14 goals in 39 appearance in the Norwegian Eliteserien.
A move to RB Salzburg followed and Haaland banged in 17 goals in 16 appearances, to earn a switch to Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund after just half-a-season. He is scored 34 goals in 38 appearances for the yellow and black.