Alf-Inge Haaland and Raiola travelled to Barcelona on Thursday morning for a two-and-a-half-hour meeting with Barca’s new president Joan Laporta and the club’s new director of football affairs Mateu Alemany.
Sources told ESPN that the meeting was the first step in exploring the viability of the deal, with negotiations still in the early stages. The two men then flew to Madrid, where they arrived at Barajas Airport on Thursday afternoon and spoke to Real Madrid until the evening.
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Sources told ESPN that the meeting with Madrid was friendly, like the meetings we often have with players.
Raiola and Haaland wanted to know more about Real Madrid’s intentions and plans for the summer, while Florentino Perez wanted to know first-hand about the player’s situation.
Sources have said that if Madrid were to move to Norway, they believe they would have an advantage over Barca due to their relationship with Borussia Dortmund and their more favourable financial situation.
The sources added that Dortmund are aware of the meeting with Haaland’s representatives and the clubs are expected to discuss the transfer with the player in the future. Haaland held similar talks with interested clubs, including Manchester United, before leaving Salzburg to move to Dortmund in January 2020.
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Dortmund sporting director Michael Zork said later on Thursday: I don’t mind [Mino Raiola and Alf Inge Haaland] enjoying the sun on the Mediterranean. We have discussed this and our position is very clear. I’m very, very relaxed about it because I know what we want.
Haaland, 20, has scored 49 goals in 49 games for Borussia Dortmund since signing with the Bundesliga club. The exit clause in his contract doesn’t come until 2022, and ESPN reports that Dortmund will agree to €180 million this summer.
Sources have revealed to ESPN that Laporta believes Haaland would be a strategic acquisition that would strengthen Barca for ten years or more and also prevent him from leaving for a rival club. However, Barca’s financial situation will reportedly make a deal difficult, as will competition from Real Madrid and Manchester City.
Barca know that a move to Madrid would be attractive to Haaland, while City’s economic strength makes them a serious contender. Laporta and super agent Raiola have a long-standing relationship, but these talks are the first formal contact about a possible deal for Haaland. According to sources, the role of Barcelona’s technical secretary Ramon Samoleta, who Raiola knows and trusts, could also be crucial.
Barca considered buying Haland in 2020, but the bid was rejected by then sporting director Eric Abidal. The club are exploring credit lines that would allow a deal to be done, as they did when they signed Antoine Griezmann in 2019.
Sources have told ESPN that Haaland’s profile as a promising young talent matches that of Ronald Koeman’s new team at Barcelona. His signing is also seen as an important statement and a strong argument to convince Lionel Messi to extend his contract, which expires this summer.
Barca are also in the process of a salary cut – even more so if Messi decides to stay – and will have to move players like Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti and even Griezmann.
ESPN Germany correspondent Stefan Wersfeld contributed to this report.
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