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Brennan's Brief Which big European football club will break the bank to land Dutch superstar Erling Haaland?

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Erling Haaland is in demand

Erling Haaland is in demand

Erling Haaland is in demand

Who will blink first? Which big European football club will break the bank to get Erling Haaland, the Norwegian superstar who seems destined to leave Borussia Dortmund sooner or later.

The 20-year-old striker seems to be a once-in-a-generation striking talent who appears ready to take over from Messi and Ronaldo as one of the gold stars of football. But who may have to make a transfer during a once-in-a-generation pandemic.

According to his contract, Haaland can leave Dortmund in the summer of 2022 for €75million. Any club that ponies up the money then just has to do a deal on wages, and the agents’ fee, with the young lad and his representative, Mino Raiola. Haaland will then go wherever he wants.

Yet will someone force the German club’s hand this summer. Like every other big football club in Europe, Dortmund have gone a year without gate receipts. If someone offers them €100million or €120million for Haaland in June, dare they reject it?

But who would that be? The finances of both Barcelona and Real Madrid are a mess. Top Barca executives are under police investigation. Yes, they are going to have to replace Lionel Messi sooner rather than later, but can they afford more loans?

Juventus broke their bank to get Cristiano Ronaldo, can they go back in for more, while Inter Milan’s owners have just shut down their Chinese Super League club and they still owe Manchester United a lot of money for Romelu Lukaku.

No, Dortmund, and Haaland, are only likely to hear from four clubs. PSG, Manchester City, Manchester United or Liverpool. PSG would love to link Haaland up with Kylian Mbappe in an attack to die for. And they could pay for it by sending Neymar to the club he wants to join, Real Madrid, if they can afford to buy the Brazilian.

Manchester City have the dough, but they sailed so close to the wind of a massive ban because of Financial Fair Play two years ago. Would they go back to that well?

Would Manchester United deal again with Raiola, also Paul Pogba’s agent? United could raise most of the money for Haaland by selling the French World Cup winner. But would buying Haaland be the right move. United need to stiffen their defence this summer – it is the part of the team letting them down right now.

That leaves us with Liverpool whose owners now surely now that European football is not like American sport, you have to keep investing in the best players all the time. Liverpool did not strengthen their squad in any huge way over the last two summers. Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara are their only big buys in those windows and the deal for Keita had been done a year previously.

They need new blood and new legs for 2021/22 and there must be a risk that at least one of their attacking ‘Holy Trinity’ of Salah, Firmino and Mane will leave Anfield at the end of the season.

No, if Liverpool want to kick on and challenge for further Premier League and Champions Leagues before Jurgen Klopp’s contract ends in 2024, they need to make a statement and make Borussia Dortmund an offer they cannot refuse.

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