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Borussia Dortmund have set a transfer fee for Erling Haaland, while Tiktok is causing problems at Barcelona. ESPN’s Insider Notebook has the latest version.
Skip: La Liga’s drone fight: Bale’s future unclear despite Madrid’s demands: Bailey’s fear of ManUnited defender: Roma and Sevilla in pursuit of Lacazette
Haaland EUR 180 million valuation
Erling Haaland’s transfer fee was set by Borussia Dortmund this summer, sources have told ESPN. Interested clubs need €180 million to bring in one of the most sought-after players in world football.
Haaland was a revelation in Germany. He has scored 49 goals in as many games since his January 2020 transfer from FC Salzburg. He has scored 32 goals in 31 games this season, including 10 in six Champions League matches, and his manager Mino Raiola has said that 10 clubs could sign him.
The striker joined Dortmund last year after Manchester United showed keen interest, but the Bundesliga club managed to negotiate an escape clause in his contract. This will not take effect until the summer of 2022. Clubs could contract Haaland this summer but Dortmund, worth €180m, are demanding a premium to get rid of him before the clause kicks in next year.
Dortmund underlined their attitude towards their stars last summer, when United tried to negotiate a lower price for England international Jadon Sancho. The Premier League tried to negotiate with BVB to reduce the value of the striker by €120 million, but Dortmund refused to negotiate.
The same harsh tactics will be used in Haaland this summer, sources told ESPN, to warn European heavyweights against betting. United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich have all shown varying degrees of interest in the Norwegian international, but in a transfer market hit by the coronavirus, Dortmund are hoping that their €180m valuation will tie Haaland to the club for another year.
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Sources have told ESPN that Chelsea officials thought they could convince Dortmund to do a deal this summer, but that was before the Bundesliga club’s position on Haaland’s price became clearer. Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has long been a fan of the 20-year-old Manchester United player, but the latest financial figures show that the club’s revenues have fallen by 7% to £281.8m and profits by 7% to £33.6m, and Solskjaer admits that the club need to be realistic when it comes to transfers. New Barca president Joan Laporta wants Haaland to become a cornerstone of the club, but given Barca’s €1.1 billion debt, a €180 million transfer for the player will not be easy.
La Liga president Javier Tebas has said that it would be a juggling act to contract Haaland from Barcelona or Real Madrid, given the amounts involved. Sources have informed ESPN that Manchester City are surprised by the optimistic reports in Spain about both teams’ hopes of signing him, as they believe they are in a strong position to make their move.
Dortmund are struggling in the Bundesliga this season, despite Haaland’s brilliant performances, as they struggle under interim coach Edin Terzic to qualify for the Champions League next season. BVB are four points behind Eintracht Frankfurt in the final qualifying round. The clash between the two teams at the Westfalenstadion on 3. April will play an important role in deciding who will participate in the European elite tournament next season.
Haland stormed off the pitch last weekend after Dortmund threatened to be relegated in their 2-2 defeat to Cologne, despite having a star striker in double figures, but sources say he will be fighting relegation attempts from clubs this summer if Dortmund miss out on a Champions League match. -Stephen Wersfeld and Rhodri Faez
Erling Haaland, 20, is one of the most sought-after players in world football. Mark Niemeyer/DAX Images/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Problems with TikTok in Barcelona
Barcelona wants to improve security at the training ground so that players are not harassed, sources told ESPN. Lionel Messi and other stars have been attacked by users of the social media platform TikTok. Not only are they constantly shot at at close range, but they are often insulted to get a reaction.
Messi lost his head earlier this month over provocations from users of the app, where people can share and upload short video clips.
You’ve made many videos like this, you can’t make videos of me all your life, he said.
Antoine Griezmann and Frankie de Jong were targeted, while defender Samuel Umtiti was harassed by a group of youths shouting Go to Barca B when he stepped out of his car at a red light on leaving training and then got back in.
Midfielder Pedri was found at his home and several players found people waiting for them at Barcelona-El Prat airport as they left for an international assignment this week.
Barca initially held talks with police to improve security around the training ground when players arrive and leave, but were told it would be difficult to stop people approaching the players’ cars. — Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens
Lionel Messi’s contract at Barcelona expires in 100 days, but Shaka Hislop is not going to PSG.
Combat drones of the League
La Liga are planning to install drone technology in stadiums after last weekend’s match between Athletic Bilbao and Eibar was disrupted by a drone landing on the pitch.
The game at San Mames was stopped in the 68th minute. The match was interrupted in the 29th minute when the referee removed a device carrying a flag against Euro 2020 matches taking place at the venue. No player or official was injured and play resumed immediately.
Spain will play its three group games in Bilbao, which was chosen as one of the 12 host cities for the tournament, which met with opposition from nationalist Basque groups.
A La Liga spokesman told ESPN that the league is working on a project to prevent drones from flying over stadiums and endangering players and fans.
Under an agreement reached with Spain’s Interior Ministry in December and formalised this month, La Liga will install systems for detecting and neutralising drones in stadiums, which will be linked to existing police measures to control crowds. These systems will operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – not just during games – and will cover the cost of the league.
The most high-profile example of a drone interrupting a football match occurred in 2014, when Serbia had to cancel its European Championship qualifier against Albania after a drone carrying the Albanian flag sparked a mass brawl between players and fans. — Alex Kirkland
Julien Laurens has not ruled out an unlikely return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid.
Bale’s comments in Madrid taken out of context
Gareth Bale’s comments about a planned return to Real Madrid this summer have been taken completely out of context, his agent Jonathan Barnett has told ESPN.
The Tottenham striker is on loan from the Bernabeu for a full season and caused a stir at the Wales press conference on Tuesday when he appeared to announce that he would return to Madrid at the end of his loan spell.
The original plan was to spend a season at Spurs and then another at Real Madrid after the Euros, Bale said. I plan to go back, and frankly, I did.
Barnett told ESPN it was too early to draw any conclusions about where Bale, whose contract with Madrid expires in 2022, will play next season. Bale’s words were meant to be a statement of fact reflecting the reality of the one-year loan, not a statement of intent.
The 31-year-old has scored 10 goals since joining Spurs – including five in the Premier League – after a slow start to the season. Bale won four league titles and two La Liga titles with Madrid, but persistent injuries and a disagreement with Zinedine Zidane caused him to fall out of favour and he eventually left the club last September.
He had previously stated that he would definitely be interested in playing in Major League Soccer in the future. — Alex Kirkland
Shaka Hislop responds to Gareth Bale’s comments that he wants to return to Real Madrid after his loan spell at Tottenham.
Bailey’s fears in the search for Man United defender
Eric Bailey wants a guarantee of game time before he commits to Manchester United for an extended period, sources have told ESPN.
The club are in talks with Bailey’s representatives to extend the defender’s contract, which expires in 2022. Bailey is keen to stay at Old Trafford, but is concerned about the amount of game time he will get if the team’s management plan to bring in a new central defender.
Solskjaer is a fan of the 26-year-old, but there are concerns over his availability after he has suffered a string of injuries since coming over from Villarreal for £30m in 2016. He has made 20 or more appearances in only one of his four full seasons at the club and has made 15 appearances in that time so far.
Bailey is not in United’s squad for the last two games against Milan and Leicester, but is expected to play for Ivory Coast against Niger on Friday. — Rob Dawson
Steve Nicol analyses Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s comments that trophies are not important at Man United.
Roma, Sevilla watching Lacazette
Sevilla, Roma and Atletico Madrid are among a growing list of groups following the current uncertainty over the future of Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette, sources told ESPN.
The striker enters the final year of his contract at Arsenal this summer and the club are faced with the question of whether to offer him a new deal or listen to offers from the 29-year-old, who could be negotiating with overseas clubs as early as January if he does not sign.
Lacazette is in a strong position, as the player is a key figure in the Arsenal dressing room according to sources, and manager Mikel Aretha has revealed he wants to offer him a new contract.
I hope the player under contract will stay with us, Arteta said, but negotiations have not started yet.
Lacazette has already scored 13 times for Arsenal this season and is the club’s second top scorer after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Atletico Madrid have long been fans of the French international, but Sevilla and Roma have also joined the hunt. — Julien Lawrence
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