3 indications Real Madrid could edge out Manchester City for Erling Haaland

Dortmund, Erling Haaland (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dortmund, Erling Haaland (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images) /

Months ago, it seemed like there would be a handful of suitors for Erling Haaland. Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, PSG, Barcelona, Liverpool, and Bayern Munich were all seemingly competitors with Real Madrid for the Borussia Dortmund star.

But now, the pretenders have dropped out. Bayern don’t usually spend that kind of money on players, and they already have Robert Lewandowski in their ranks. Chelsea signed Romelu Lukaku. Barcelona still want you to think they are going to steal away Haaland, but how can a Europa League-level side with serious financial problems sign such a player? Liverpool never seemed like legitimate contenders, given their frugality. And United? Have you seen them lately…

PSG don’t even look like real contenders at this point. They have the money, but would Haaland really want to move to Ligue 1 and join the club that strong-armed fellow young superstar Kylian Mbappe last summer? Based on how little the Parisians have been linked to Haaland, it seems as if the striker has seen past their façade…

So it all comes down to Manchester City and Real Madrid. And Madridistas need to see City as formidable competitors for Haaland’s signature. In addition to the legacy with his father and their deep pockets, City have been dominant in the Premier League over the years. And Haaland could be etched in their club’s lore if he brings them the Champions League title that has evaded them.

Real Madrid don’t want any No. 9 other than Erling Haaland

Of course, City’s lore is not quite as fabled as Real’s. That seems to be why every recent report mentions that Haaland favors Los Blancos. And there are even multiple reports indicating that City know Haaland leans towards Real. They are not giving up on the chase for the Norwegian superstar, but they are, apparently, very much aware that they have some ground to make up.

What’s also interesting is that City aren’t just interested in one striker. Last summer, they were heavily linked to Harry Kane. What if Pep Guardiola circles back to the current Premier League superstar next summer? Beyond veteran alternatives, City are also heavily interested in young phenom Julian Alvarez. They may even be the favorites to sign the River Plate star, who seems like a great fit for the club.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid have shown zero interest in established strikers. They have minimal interest in Alvarez, but that’s really it. Real have not dug into any alternatives within LaLiga, they aren’t after Kane, they have not met Pini Zahavi’s flirting over Lewandowski, and they have shown less than zero interest in Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic. For them, it is Haaland-or-bust at the 9, because they already have Karim Benzema.

City is not Haaland’s dream club, even as they are considered by the striker. And if they are seriously looking at other striker options while Real is not, that is an advantage for Madrid. As much as people want to play the game of “Can Haaland and Kylian Mbappe co-exist?” the reality is that there are other stars at City, too, including those like Riyad Mahrez who have to sit on the periphery.

Haaland, judging from how he acts at Dortmund, loves playing with other great attackers. So Mbappe should not be an issue. If anything, he may prefer the quality-over-quantity approach to the attack that Real would have with Karim Benzema, Vinicius Jr., and Mbappe. It is something Mino Raiola himself has hinted at, too.

There is one last matter. The league. Many assumed the Premier League’s profile would favor Haaland, but it appears he prefers LaLiga. And he would not be lacking in endorsements, profile, supporters, or Champions League attention at Real Madrid.

Next. It is now or never for Kylian Mbappe to Real Madrid. dark

So Haaland’s personal leaning to Real, his preference for LaLiga, and Manchester City’s interest in other strikers could play into Real’s hands. However, Madridistas should not get arrogant. This will still be a tough battle for Haaland, even if the Spanish giants appear to have distinct advantages.