Barcelona have been pursuing Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland with great intent as Joan Laporta sought to make him the marquee signing of the upcoming summer transfer window.
The Barça president and manager Xavi Hernandez have been keen on adding the Norwegian to the ranks before next season as they believe that he can lead the team back to the top.
But recent reports from England indicated that the 21-year-old may be headed to Manchester City, with the Premier League champions believed to have a deal in place to sign Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.
Following this development, Laporta also made comments which seemed to hint that Barcelona were likely to end their chase of the Norwegian international.
In a press conference last week, Xavi claimed that he did not know any player who had turned down the Blaugrana. But the 42-year-old could now see Haaland reject Barça for Manchester City and here are five reasons why he might do so.
Following in the footsteps of his father
Erling Haaland’s father, Alf-Inge, was a footballer as well and spent a good part of his career in England. The former defensive midfielder, in fact, played for three years at Manchester City between 2000 and 2003, making 45 appearances, in which he scored three goals.
The 49-year-old has a major influence on his son’s career decisions and Erling Haaland could certainly be tempted to follow in the footsteps of his father and join the Cityzens.
The Pep Guardiola factor
Working with a manager of Pep Guardiola’s stature would be a dream for any player in the world. Barcelona have first-hand seen what the Catalan tactician can deliver, as he built one of the most successful teams in the club’s history during his time at Camp Nou.
He has continued to work his magic since departing Catalonia, having built dominant forces at Bayern Munich and now at Manchester City.
In addition, the manager has the reputation of getting the best out of players – Robert Lewandowski found a new level under Guardiola, just like Kevin De Bruyne has at Manchester City. Not to forget the one and only Lionel Messi.
So, working under such an esteemed manager could prove hard to turn down for Haaland.
Titles and trophies
Manchester City have been one of the most dominant teams in England and Europe over the last half-a-decade or so.
Since Pep Guardiola took over the reins at the Etihad Stadium, the Mancunians have won three Premier League titles, four League Cups, an FA Cup and made it to the Champions League final last season. They are again in the running to lift the league title in England.
Joining Manchester City would allow Haaland to challenge for and win trophies instantly. Meanwhile, Barcelona are going through a rebuild and even though there has been a lot of progress under Xavi Hernandez, they are still some way away from challenging the elite.
There had been reports that Barcelona were willing to offer Haaland a massive contract of around €190 million over five years.
But with La Liga reducing the club’s spending limit to -€144 million, things could change at Camp Nou. Laporta made it clear that the club would not go ahead with any deal that would jeopardise their financial position, which could stop them from handing Haaland a mega-contract.
That, however, should not be a problem at Man City, who are a state-owned club and have endless riches which would allow them to offer the 21-year-old a lucrative contract that could blow away the rest of the competition.
The lure of Premier League
The Premier League is widely regarded as the most entertaining and competitive league competition across Europe.
The English top-flight is home to some of the biggest players in the game like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah. Some of the best managers in football – Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, Antonio Conte are all in the Premier League as well.
The chance to become a part of the Premier League and rub shoulders with some of these aforementioned names could lure Haaland to Manchester City over Barcelona.
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