Step by step how Manchester City signed Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund

ESPN details behind-the-scenes report for Manchester City to beat rivals and sign youngster Erling Haaland

At one point or another, every single major club in Europe harbored hopes of signing Erling Haaland. Some had face-to-face talks with their representatives. Others, like Real Madrid and BarcelonaThey were given tours of their training grounds and at one point Manchester United believed they were so close to sealing a transfer that they began looking at options to bring him to the city.

With Kylian MbappéHaaland is the world’s most coveted young player – and was No. 1 on the 39-player U-21 list of ESPN– so much so that it has been suggested that French and Norwegian will replace Leo Messi Y Cristiano Ronaldo as the dominant global icons of the game. mbappe is still at the center of his own transfer saga between the Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, but last Tuesday, Manchester City announced that he won the €60 million race for Haland.

Sources close to the club told ESPN who believe they have signed a superstar in a deal that could be one of the best in football history. They have also done so with a minimum of fuss and with enough time to ensure that Haaland will be on the plane with the rest of the crew. Pep Guardiola for their pre-season tour of the United States ahead of their debut season in the PremierLeague.

Guardiola he finally has his striker and Haaland, 21, gets his first chance on a big stage. Below, we share with you how things unfolded.

Man City priority: Haaland, Kane… then Haaland

Manchester City scouts, like most around the world, knew Haland since he made his absolute debut with Bryne in Norway aged 15 in 2016, and his reputation as a powerful and prolific goalscorer has only grown in the years since. After a period with the former coach of the Man Utd, Ole Gunnar Solskjærin it Moldscored 29 goals in 27 games with the FC Salzburg from Austria.

In December 2019, Haaland signed for Borussia Dortmund (where he scored 85 goals in 88 games in two and a half seasons) for €20 million. It was precisely at the time that he signed for the German club that his arrival in Manchester began to be planned.

That transfer to Dortmund it was only completed after a proposed move from salzburg to Manchester, strongly encouraged by Solskjærthen in charge at Old Trafford, broke due to agent’s insistence Mino Raiola for a release clause to be included in any agreement. United argued that he gave Haland and his representatives control over his future and, in the end, quickly canceled his travel plans. Dortmund, however, accepted it and included a €60m release clause, which was to kick in before the 2022 summer transfer window.

Last week, Manchester City informed the Dortmund that he intended to activate the clause before the June deadline after reaching an agreement in principle with Haaland and his agents following Raiola’s death in April. Haaland’s team conveyed his decision to Real Madrid and the Bayern Munich – the other two clubs that were still in the fight to sign him – by phone before a weekend trip to Belgium to carry out medical examinations in Brussels with the staff of the City.

However, if things had been different last summer, Haaland would have gone elsewhere.

With the need to replace Sergio AgueroCity converted the English striker harry kane on his main transfer target in the summer of 2021, but was deterred by the £150m valuation by the Tottenham. Sources told ESPN that City bosses made it clear during those discussions that if no agreement could be reached on kanethen Haaland would be their alternative option the following summer, but that revelation didn’t force Spurs into serious negotiations and kane stay whitout movement. From the moment that kane confirmed that he would stay in North London, Haland became the first choice City.

There was brief contact with Dortmund about the availability of Haland a year ago, only for the City knew that the transfer of 85 million euros from Jadon Sancho to Man Utd it was already advanced and that the German giants would not allow two star players to leave in the same window.

By coincidence, the 12 million euros paid to the City as part of moving Sancho to Old Trafford, courtesy of a clause inserted as part of his move from the Etihad to Dortmund in 2017, he helped them quickly put together the financial framework needed to finally secure Haaland. The Dortmund He will receive around €40m for Haaland in a first payment after July 1, followed by a second at a later date.

City believe they have a player who would be worth over €200m on the open market at a fraction of the price, and there have been jokes within the club that the €60m fee is less than what the Man Utd to sign the much-maligned midfielder Fred of the Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018.

‘An emotional connection’

Haaland will immediately become one of City’s top earners when he officially joins on July 1, but sources close to the club insist they have not broken their salary structure and his salary is not above £375,000. per week you receive Kevin DeBruyne. Harmony in the locker room is a priority for Guardiolaregardless of the player, while those closest to Haaland insist the move is not motivated by money.

Their reps are well aware that they could have made more money by moving to Uniteda team that is also in the market to sign a young striker this summer, but sources told ESPN that his interest was ruled out months ago.

There is a theory that United’s decision to fire Solskjæra close friend and former international team-mate of Erling’s father Alfie, ended any hope that Haaland could go to Old Trafford, but sources told ESPN that was never a factor. Alfie Haaland has a good relationship with Ralf Rannick from his time in Red Bull (Rangnick was named director of football for both the FC Salzburg as of RB Leipzig in 2012 before his stint as caretaker boss at Old Trafford) and the decision to snub United was made simply because they are no longer competitive in the Premier League and Champions League.

Sources close to Haaland told ESPN that the interest of the clubs was weighed in terms of their “sports project”: the coach, the style of play and their ability to succeed on the pitch. City ticked all the boxes. The opportunity to work with Guardiola was an important factor, particularly as Haaland is desperate to win the Ballon d’Or, football’s most prestigious individual award.

He started planning his next move since the ink on his contract with the Borussia Dortmund it was drying, Haland and his team have done their homework on where to go. In April 2021, Raiola, who died last month due to illness, and Alfie Haaland visited the Real Madrid facilities and Barcelona The same day. Earlier this year, there were discussions with both the Chelsea like with him Bayern Munichbut it was the City Who left the best impression?

Real Madrid were also seriously considered, but their search for Mbappe complicated things, while Karim Benzema34, has shown that his stage as a top-level striker is far from over after a season in which he has already exceeded 40 goals in all competitions.

Even if the premier league offers a tougher test than The league for a young forward, they are City Y Guardiola those who cry out for a number 9 after navigating the campaign without one after the game of Omen. On top of that, and everything else City have been able to offer, it’s also billed as a homecoming after Alfie played for City between 2000 and 2003.

Erling was born in England a month after Alfie joined the Leeds club, and there are still staff who remember holding him as a baby. Haaland and his father were in the Wembley stands for City’s 3-1 win over Sunderland in the 2014 League Cup final. City look after their former players, and Alfie has returned several times over the years. of the years as a guest or amateur. According to sources, Erling feels that he is joining a club with which he has “an emotional connection”.

What happens from now on?

Haaland to City feels like the right choice for both club and player, but it’s not a move without risk.

Sources told ESPN that the scouts of the Chelsea expressed concern about whether the style of play of Haland would be suitable for premier league because there is less room for forward players to attack compared to the Bundesliga. The Barcelona recruiting staff reported that they had reservations about his personality and character. Real Madrid, according to sources, took issue with his injury history (he has missed 17 club games this season mainly due to muscle problems), although the Spanish club accepts it did not put them off entirely, and there was a stage in around February in which even those involved in the candidacy of the City they believed that it could end up at the Bernabéu.

At just 21 years old, there is still a chance that he will play in the Madrid.

Haaland’s representatives, led by his father, have carefully planned each stage of his career and his move to the City is the next step. Haland he has made no secret of his desire to one day play for Real Madrid and while City are well aware of his ambitions, they will do their best to make his life so comfortable at the Etihad Stadium that he never wants to leave. That tactic has worked for them. Guardiolawho has signed two contract extensions since his arrival in 2016 and does not rule out agreeing on another this summer.

For now, City, Guardiola and Haaland can be happy they got what they wanted. A transfer story of more than two years has ended with one of the best young players in Europe joining one of the best teams in Europe. They will both hope that it turns out to be a dream.

*With additional reporting by Mark Ogden, Sam Marsden, Moises Llorens, Rodrigo Faez, and Alex Kirkland

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