Erling Haaland handed Real Madrid twist but he should focus on Pep Guardiola’s Man City decision – Dominic Farrell

Reports from Germany this week suggest 2023 and not 2022 will be the summer of Erling Haaland.

It is a date that already looms large for Manchester City fans.

The latest manoeuvrings in the Haaland saga suggests Madrid are keen to move for the superstar striker next summer, with the need to find suitable terms for Kylian Mbappe as his Paris Saint-Germain contract expires presumed to be the priority for the forthcoming close season.

Getting another season out of one of the most lethal strikers in world football is obviously a scenario that would appeal to Borussia Dortmund. It is not insignificant that this latest twist was first reported from their locality by Ruhr Nachrichten.

If this is the Dortmund brief and it’s an arrangement Madrid like, then where would that leave City in their expected Haaland pursuit?

Firstly, the 21-year-old’s £64million release clause is still set to become active. Although, as reported by 90min, it must be paid in full to be triggered – something at odds with the facilities approach major clubs generally take for major deals.

As such, Dortmund might be able to extract a higher price from Madrid a year further down the line, but we are probably entering a situation where money is not the driving factor.

City and Madrid are each likely to be able to put together attractive financial packages for such a talent. The question will then come down to what they are selling.

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The narrative in the Madrid brochure is quite straightforward – an opportunity to write the next chapter for the 13-time European champions and make it the Erling Haaland chapter.

City are in the different position of penning their most illustrious pages as we speak. The Pep Guardiola era has redefined what is possible in English football. As they resume Champions League action next week, the final frontier will come into view again.

A useful element for Madrid at this stage is the fact that Guardiola’s current City deal expires in 2023. If the Catalan was to decide he had accomplished everything he wanted to by then and walked away – it’s impossible to imagine Pep leaving City on anything other than his own terms – then it might be harder to sell the footballing project of playing under his successor to Haaland.

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However, there is increasing confidence among City fans that Guardiola will remain beyond his present terms. He seems completely at ease at the club and Joao Cancelo’s long-term contract extension was the latest confirmation that the core of his all-conquering team is not going anywhere.

If Guardiola wants to be here for the long haul, then expect most of his key players to be here with him.

Madrid and Dortmund’s reported 2023 strategy looks pretty tidy right now but, if Guardiola leads further City renewals beyond that date then it should underline to Haaland where he would be best spending the defining years of his career.

Do you expect Manchester City to go all in for Erling Haaland? Follow City Is Ours editor Dom Farrell on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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