Sat, 17 Apr 2021

Analysis: Haaland hype keeps producing stories

07 Apr 2021, 21:44 GMT+10

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of photos have been taken over the past days apart from plenty of TV material. It comes as no surprise that the media's main target was a well-known Norwegian footballer going by the name of Erling Haaland.

The hype around the 20-year-old is producing curious evidence of football's strange procedures, but a crucial question remains unanswered.

Which of the top European clubs is going to secure his signature this summer?

On the fringe of Dortmund's quarterfinal encounter against Manchester City (2-1), Romanian lineman Octavian Sovre became famous as he asked for the striker's autograph in the players' tunnel. It was recorded by several cameras.

The referee, of course, can be excluded as Haaland's future employer.

Europe's creme de la creme like Barcelona, Real, Man United and City, and Bayern are said to be in the middle of a fierce bidding battle.

Financial losses for all clubs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic don't seem to be playing a role despite reasonable doubts about who is currently capable of paying up to 150 million euro for the gifted attacker.

20 Champions League goals in 14 games and a surprising number of league goals have turned Haaland into football's most-wanted striker.

Rumors continue to talk of a possible departure despite a contract with the German side until 2024. It however contains an exit clause worth up to 100 million euros for 2022. This summer it is up to Borussia to determine the sum.

While Dortmund officials claim they want to keep Haaland, the player's representatives have been on a promotion tour put the feelers out. Father Alf-Inge Haaland and agent Mino Raiola didn't seem to mind being accompanied by media while on their way to meeting Real and Barcelona.

With Haaland announcing, he intends to play in the Champions League every year from now on, Dortmund finds itself in a dire situation.

Managing director Michael Zorc said the club would hold on to its talented striker "no matter if we reach the Champions League next season or not."

With his statements, the former midfielder has tried to ease tensions as his team is currently trying to make up a seven-point gap to a Champions League spot.

The club seems well aware that Haaland is in the driving seat.

Zorc called the Haaland-hype a media issue and said agent Raiola and father Alf-Inge had received a clear message from Dortmund.

Despite the much-admired striker not having scored in the first leg against the Sky-Blues, the top club's interest hasn't diminished.

Haaland provided an assist leading to Marco Reus scoring in a generally satisfying team performance.

Zorc insisted Dortmund will decide when it is time for Haaland to leave. Losses of up to 75 million due to games behind closed doors nevertheless might force the club to sell some of its best players.

The only thing that seems certain is that the Norwegian forward will continue to generate stories.

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