The changing of the guard in world football is very real, and it is happening a lot quicker than anybody could have expected or wished for. At the ages of 33 and 36, respectively, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo may not have a lot to prove at this point of their career, but they are definitely at the final juncture. The two players touted to replace them are Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.
While the latter has been aggressively linked to Real Madrid, Haaland may have a future at Barcelona, particularly if and when Joan Laporta is elected as president of the club next month.
His strong partnership with agent Mino Raiola has been illustrated in the past, and he did not miss out on speaking about the player when asked explicitly.
While talking about his project in a press conference, Laporta was asked about the possibility of signing Haaland from Borussia Dortmund. Although he has stayed away from talking about potential transfers and disclosing names in the past, his response was more straightforward this time: “If we have to improve the team, I have the cards, and I’m ready to play them.”
The cards here may be about the understanding he shares with Raiola, and how he helped the Italian achieve such unheard heights in the profession. Or they may be regarding Laporta’s economical ambitions for the club. Either way, it will work in favor of Barcelona as Haaland has a €75 million release clause that kicks in the summer of 2022.
If funds can be arranged, signing him this year will not be a big hassle either, considering Dortmund’s place in the Bundesliga. As it stands, they sit sixth, level on points with Borussia Monchengladbach. Falling out of the top six could force them to let go of some superstars to match the UCL revenue.