According to fresh reports from the reliable Mike Keegan, Manchester City have agreed to terms with Erling Haaland’s representatives for a deal that would see the highly sought-after striker move to the Premier League.
A long-time target for many giants of the game, including Barcelona and Real Madrid, the Norwegian is set to join the Premier League giants after they trigger his release clause of around 76 million euros ahead of this summer.
The Borussia Dortmund man was a tricky target, however, as his agent Mino Raiola and father Alfie Haaland were demanding hefty fees in commissions.
If the deal does materialise, it would stand to be the signing of the year so far, and more major developments are set to follow next week.
Manchester City will reportedly offer Haaland a very lucrative contract with a bumper wage of over 600,000 euros. He would subsequently become the highest-paid player in England by far.
The only concern with regards to the 21-year-old’s potential transfer from Borussia Dortmund was his fitness level and injury status, which looks to be either resolved or is considered no issue for the Premier League giants.
Pep Guardiola has been pushing for the signing of a top-class striker for a while now, and after narrowly missing out on Harry Kane last summer, City are set to make one of the biggest moves of the year to show they mean business.
It is a bummer for Real Madrid, who were considered to be in a great position to sign him as well, and even Barcelona. But it was always going to be difficult to match Manchester City’s financial offers.
However, one positive takeaway for Real Madrid and Barcelona is that the earlier the Norweigian’s feature is sealed, the earlier the La Liga giants can focus on their remaining transfer plans. The two clubs are looking to make strong reinforcements in the summer.
Bellingham, Brahim start in a 4-4-2: How Real Madrid could line up against Granada
Having reclaimed the top spot in the La Liga table last weekend, Real Madrid will be eager to consolidate their position when they host Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
Real Madrid are currently on a four-game winning streak across all competitions, having beaten SC Braga, Valencia, Cadiz, and more recently Napoli.
Despite the spate of injuries affecting the squad, Carlo Ancelotti & co. have found a way to keep the winning momentum going and will be eager to bag another victory at home tomorrow.
Granada, meanwhile, find themselves at the opposite end of the table, but there could be a case of the new-manager bounce, for they recently replaced Paco Lopez with Alexander Medina as their head coach.
Real Madrid go into the game without Thibaut Courtois, Eder Militao, Arda Guler, Aurelien Tchouameni, Eduardo Camavinga, Luka Modric, and Vinicius Jr., all of whom are injured.
Here’s how Ancelotti could set his team up at the Santiago Bernabeu when they take on Granada tomorrow.
Kepa Arrizabalaga is fit again and has been included in the Real Madrid squad list to face Granada after missing the last four matches. However, Andriy Lunin will again be preferred in goal tomorrow, as was confirmed by manager Ancelotti during his presser.
Ancelotti has a decision to make his team selection as tomorrow’s game could be a good chance for him to rotate. At the same time, with no midweek fixture coming up, the Italian could be tempted to stick with his strongest XI.
As such, the Real Madrid manager could continue with the centre-back pairing of Antonio Rudiger and David Alaba, while Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy should take up the full-back positions on the right and left sides, respectively.
Since the injuries to Camavinga and Tchouameni, Toni Kroos has operated in the pivot midfield position, albeit with support from Federico Valverde. Meanwhile, Dani Ceballos will get another starting opportunity in the injury-enforced absence of Modric.
Jude Bellingham is fit and ready to play despite an injury scare during training earlier today. The 20-year-old Englishman will start in his usual role as the attacking midfielder and pose a threat to the opposition backline.
Ancelotti opted to partner Brahim Diaz with Rodrygo Goes in the attacking department against Napoli earlier this week. Given how the two performed, the manager is unlikely to tinker with the pairing.
Real Madrid Predicted Lineup: Lunin, Carvajal, Rudiger, Alaba, Mendy, Kroos, Valverde, Ceballos, Bellingham, Brahim, Rodrygo.
Carlo Ancelotti will turn to Joselu to reinforce the attacking department during the game, while young Nico Paz is likely to get more minutes again after scoring his first senior goal for Real Madrid against Napoli.
Captain Nacho Fernandez is likely to come onto the pitch to provide some relief to one of the two centre-backs during the latter stages of the contest. Fran Garcia could replace Ferland Mendy.
Young forward Gonzalo Garcia is another academy talent who could be in for some minutes on Saturday.