Fri, 14 May 2021

Tension growing around Haaland

16 Apr 2021, 23:49 GMT+10

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, April 16 (Xinhua) -- The future of Dortmund's goal-machine Erling Haaland remains uncertain.

While the Black and Yellows are hoping to move up the league table and bag a Champions League spot, the Norwegian's entourage is working on a transfer this summer.

The club's aim to keep Haaland until at least 2022 seems to be on collision course with the plans of the 20-year-old and his advisors as they are increasing efforts to join a new club after Borussia's quarterfinal exit from the Champions League against Manchester City.

Reports speak of agent Mino Raiola and father Alf-Inge having lost confidence in Dortmund, saying it is no longer the right choice for the highly-valued striker.

Dortmund officials such as CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke and sporting director Michael Zorc claim to be in charge of any developments as the striker's exit clause in his contract until 2024 is only valid for 2022.

"Without our approval, nothing will change. We intend to keep him no matter whether we qualify for the Champions League or not," Zorc and Watzke commented.

Watzke and Zorc have indicated that they have delivered their message to Haaland's management.

But things don't appear to be working that smoothly.

"The team around Haaland is always looking for the best club for him in which to develop. If a Champions League place and a realistic chance of winning the league title are vital, then Dortmund isn't the best choice at present," Norwegian football legend Jan Aage Fjortoft said.

Several top European giants like as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man United and City are said to be interested in signing the forward.

Due to the financial losses caused by the COVID-pandemic, a suitable transfer fee seems one of the crucial points. Reports speak of up to 150 million in summer 2021 while the 2022 exit-clause is worth 80 million.

Considering the long list of interested clubs, it seems an option to take a financial risk to outpace competitors and sign Haaland one year in advance.

Dortmund officials spoke about a financial shortage of up to 100 million due to games behind closed doors.

Next to Paris attacker Kylian Mbappe, the Norwegian has developed into football's hottest property having scored 33 goals in 34 games this season.

Recently Raiola and father Haaland went on a promotion tour in Spain, visiting Real and Barca officials for brief talks.

"We accept the club's announcement telling us they want to keep him, but that doesn't mean we have the same opinion," Raiola said.

In Dortmund, they hope their spearhead can quickly get over the Champions League's disappointment and continue to deliver goals to enable the club to qualify for Europe's top club competition. It won't be easy as they need to make up a 7-point deficit in the remaining six games of the season.

His uncertain future seems to be affecting Haaland's performance. The striker hasn't managed to score for the last 7 games, including 3 internationals for Norway.

Tensions seem to be growing as Watzke said he is annoyed by false reports and rumors.

"Last summer, everybody was speaking about Jadon Sancho leaving and joining United. He is still around. Now they speak of Haaland as a done deal. I know where he will be playing next season," the 61-year-old said.

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