Erling Haaland's future will be played out from April. For now, his entourage are gathering together the interest from Europe's biggest clubs ahead of making decisions next month. Barcelona, since the arrival of Joan Laporta as president, have gone all-in and are well-positioned.
There's optimism at Barça that they can make a statement signing, but they know they will need everything to fall into place to do the deal financially. It will be an expensive signing, but the club are convinced that it's a strategic and vital one to kickstart a new cycle of success in Europe.
Barça's information is that it's very likely Haaland leaves Borussia Dortmund this summer. The German club want to keep him, but but a €75 million release clause kicks in next summer. Either they renew his deal to remove the clause, which is unlikely, or they sell him this year to make more money. What they will do is try and make as much as possible, boosted by the huge range of interest.
Dortmund executives leaked that it would take €200m to land Haaland. Last week, ESPN reported €180m was the figure. It's neither one nor the other. In a normal market, Haaland would command that, but the pandemic has left a number of clubs in financial problems and his value is around €150m.
We will hae to see if that is fixed or includes add-ons. It's still a figure very few can afford, although it seems Manchester City have the advantage on the cash front. Real Madrid, who haven't invested a huge amount in terms of net spend in recent years, are also in a good position, although their priority is Kylian Mbappe.
Barça have received all the information they need and have confirmed with Haaland's entourage that he's their first option to strengthen their attack. But they need time to make it work. Because the Blaugrana need to sell one or two big players and also reduce the wage bill first. What Barça are clear on is that there will only be one big signing, if any, this year. One investment and it must be on a forward. Haaland will have his pick of clubs, so the player also needs to be convinced.