“It’s not true,” said Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola when asked about Erling Haaland’s alleged release clause that could be activated either in 2024 or in 2025.
Guardiola’s statements came as a shock but as it turns out, Spanish publication Diario AS is saying that the former Barcelona manager is deploying the same tactic that was used by Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke when Haaland was first linked with an exit from the German club.
It must be remembered that Watzke repeatedly said that ‘there is no clause’ in Haaland’s Dortmund contract. This was largely done to take the pressure off his player but in the end, City did manage to activate the €60 million clause that was always there.
As things stand, history is seeming to repeat itself. Guardiola is denying that his star attacker has no exit clause in his contract, but as confirmed by several outlets and journalists, including Fabrizio Romano, it exists.
Over the years, Haaland’s late football agent Mino Raiola has worked in a certain pattern. The pattern was to include an exit clause that can be activated in the first two years under certain conditions.
Back during the forward’s RB Salzburg days, Dortmund were given a preference, followed by City and now Real Madrid. For now, it’s been quoted that Madrid will have the option to sign the Norwegian for €200 million in 2024 or €175 million in 2025.
The fee may be astronomical, but Real Madrid have a situation to handle. To begin with, Karim Benzema is 34 and as reported before, an automatic activation will be in place once he wins the Ballon d’Or this year which would extend his current deal to 2024.
Beyond that, Real Madrid will have to look for some to fill the void. Now, it is believed that Haaland wanted to join Real Madrid in the summer but he knew displacing Karim Benzema would be impossible.
Hence, contacts were maintained by the Madrid club in order to keep the door open for his arrival in the future. And they believe that convincing the player will hold the key to the deal going through.
When the chance comes for Real to explore the possibility, they will certainly have to present Haaland with a project where he could feel at home, or even better than how is being treated at City this season.
Ancelotti ‘liked’ €70 million Portuguese full-back offered to Real Madrid in January
Joao Cancelo has, for a long time, been considered one of the best full-backs in the world of football. What makes the Portuguese international special is not just his ability to contribute flawlessly at both ends of the field but also the fact that he can recreate his magic on both flanks.
For a player of such quality to depart Manchester City unsurprisingly broke the internet. Cancelo signed for Bayern Munich on a six-month loan in January with a whopping €70 million purchase clause included in the paperwork.
According to reports from AS, the player preferred a move to Spain. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona were offered Cancelo’s services, and it was only after both La Liga giants rejected it that Bayern Munich got the chance to sign him.
For the Catalans, the player’s salary was the hurdle preventing his arrival. In Real Madrid’s case, however, it was the board’s reluctance to change the squad midway through the season.
For a long time now, Real Madrid have maintained a low profile in winter transfer windows. Carlo Ancelotti liked the full-back’s profile and saw him as a good fit, but the management would not hear of it.
Real Madrid have had a torrid time at the full-back position in recent weeks, indicating that the squad was in urgent need of new signings.
For almost a month, Ancelotti has been without a right-back after both Lucas Vazquez and Dani Carvajal suffered injuries. Just as the latter recovered, Ferland Mendy hobbled off the field and could miss six weeks of action.
Cancelo’s signing would have thus been the ideal way to kill two birds with one stone. Nevertheless, the management have their faith in the young Vinicius Tobias and it remains to be seen if their gamble pays off.