Dortmund set Haaland price at €180m; TikTok torment at Barcelona
Borussia Dortmund has set the fee for Erling Haaland, while TikTok is a nuisance in Barcelona. ESPN’s Insider Notebook has the latest information.
Jump to: TikTok torment in Barcelona | La Liga’s fight against drones | Bale future unclear despite Madrid claims | Bailly’s fears about finding Man United defenders | Roma and Seville chase after Lacazette
Haaland’s stunning valuation of 180 million euros
The transfer fee for Erling Haaland this summer was set by Borussia Dortmund, sources told ESPN. Interested clubs need 180 million euros to win one of the most sought-after players in world football.
Haaland was a revelation in Germany and scored 49 goals in as many games after moving from FC Salzburg in January 2020. He has scored 32 goals in 31 games this season, including 10 in six Champions League games, and agent Mino Raiola has said 10 clubs are able to sign him.
The striker moved to Dortmund from Manchester United last year due to strong interest, but the Bundesliga secured a deal after agreeing to include a release clause in his contract. This clause will only be active in summer 2022. The clubs can sign Haaland this summer, but the € 180million Dortmund is asking is a bonus to lose him before the clause goes into effect next year.
Dortmund underlined their stance on their stars last summer when United tried to negotiate a lower fee for England international Jadon Sancho. The Premier League tried to negotiate with BVB to lower the striker’s € 120m valuation, but Dortmund refused to negotiate.
The same hardline tactic is in place for Haaland this summer, sources told ESPN, to warn European heavyweights not to bid. United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich all have different interests in the Norwegian international. In a transfer market affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Dortmund hopes that Haaland will stay at the club with a value of 180 million euros for another player this year.
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Sources had told ESPN that high-profile figures at Chelsea believed they could trick Dortmund into a deal this summer, but this was before the Bundesliga position on Haaland’s fee became clear. Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a longtime admirer of the 20-year-old. However, the club’s most recent financial reports show that sales have fallen 7% to £ 281.8m and profits are down 7% to £ 33.6m The club needs to be “realistic” when it comes to transfers. Barcelona’s new President Joan Laporta is keen to make Haaland a cornerstone of his tenure at the club. However, with Barca in debt of € 1.1bn, it will be difficult for the player to make € 180m.
La Liga president Javier Tebas said it would take a “magic trick” for Barca or Real Madrid to land Haaland and sources told ESPN that Manchester City were surprised at the bullish reports in Spain about the two teams’ hopes be signing it because they believe they are in a stronger position to take a step.
Dortmund is fighting in the Bundesliga this season despite Haaland’s brilliance. The club is fighting under interim coach Edin Terzic to qualify for the Champions League next season. BVB is four points behind Eintracht Frankfurt in the last qualifying place for next season’s competition, and the meeting of the two teams in the Westfalenstadion on April 3 will make a decisive contribution to who will be represented in the European elite tournament next season.
Haaland stormed off the field last weekend after Dortmund drew 2-2 in Cologne, which is threatened with relegation, despite the brace of his star striker. – Stephan Uersfeld and Rodri Faez
Erling Haaland, 20, is one of the most sought-after players in world football. Marc Nyemeyer / DAX Images / NurPhoto via Getty Images
Barcelona’s TikTok problems
Barcelona want to increase security on their training grounds to prevent players from being harassed, sources told ESPN. Lionel Messi and other stars targeted by users of the TikTok social media platform. Not only are they constantly filmed up close, but they are often insulted in search of a reaction.
Messi lost his cool earlier this month due to provocation from users of the app, a place where people can share and upload short video clips.
“You’ve done a lot of the same videos already, you can’t spend your whole life making videos of me,” he said.
Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong were targeted while defender Samuel Umtiti was approached at a traffic light – stepping out of his car before getting back in – when he was leaving training by a group of young people who said “Go to Barca” called B “to him.
Midfielder Pedri was wanted at his home and several players found people waiting for them at Barcelona El Prat Airport this week when they left for international service this week.
Barca have had preliminary talks with police about improving security at their training base when players come to and from training. However, they were told that it would be difficult to prevent people from approaching players’ cars. – Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens
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La Liga is grappling with drone difficulties
La Liga are planning to install anti-drone technology in stadiums after a game between Athletic Bilbao and Eibar was suspended last weekend when a drone landed on the pitch.
The game in San Mames had to be paused at the 68th minute while the referee removed the device that carried a flag against the Euro 2020 games being played at the venue. No players or officials were injured and the game was able to resume immediately.
Spain are expected to play their three group stage matches in Bilbao, selected as one of 12 host cities for the tournament and facing opposition from Basque nationalist groups.
A La Liga spokesman told ESPN that the league was working on a project to prevent drones from flying over stadiums, endangering players and fans.
Under an agreement signed with the Spanish Ministry of the Interior in December and formalized this month, La Liga will install drone detection and neutralization systems in the stadiums, linked to the police’s already existing anti-drone measures. These systems operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – not just when games are being played – and the costs are covered by the league.
The best-known example of a drone that interrupted a football game was in 2014 when Serbia’s qualifying for Euro 2016 against Albania was canceled after an Albanian flag drone triggered a mass brawl between players and fans. – Alex Kirkland
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Bale’s Madrid comments “out of context”
Gareth Bale’s comments on a planned Real Madrid return this summer were “completely out of context,” his agent Jonathan Barnett told ESPN.
The Tottenham striker has been on loan from the Bernabeu for a season and caused a stir in a press conference with Wales on Tuesday when he appears to have announced his intention to return to Madrid when his loan period expires.
“The original plan was to play one season at Spurs and after the Euros have another year at Real Madrid,” said Bale. “My plan is to go back and that’s as far as I planned to be honest.”
Barnett told ESPN it was “too early” to draw any conclusions about where Bale, whose contract with Madrid expires in 2022, will play his football next season. Bale’s words were meant to be a statement of fact, reflecting the reality of a one-year loan, rather than a statement of intent.
The 31-year-old has scored 10 goals after a slow start to the season since joining Spurs – five of them in the Premier League. Bale won four Champions League and two La Liga titles in Madrid but fell from grace last September and eventually secured a move due to ongoing injuries and a breakdown in his relationship with Zinedine Zidane.
He previously said that he would be “definitely interested” in playing Major League Soccer in the future. – Alex Kirkland
Shaka Hislop reacts to Gareth Bale’s comments on returning to Real Madrid after his loan to Tottenham.
Bailly’s fears over Man United’s defender hunt
Eric Bailly will seek assurances about the playing time before devoting his long-term future to Manchester United, sources told ESPN.
The club has started negotiations with Bailly’s representatives to extend the defense attorney’s contract, which is set to expire in 2022. Bailly is dying to stay at Old Trafford but has concerns about how much playing time he will get if United pushes ahead with their plans to sign a new center-back.
Solskjaer is a fan of the 26-year-old but there are availability concerns after sustaining a string of injuries since arriving from Villarreal in 2016 with a £ 30m move. He has made 20 or more appearances in just one of his four full appearances, and has played 15 times so far this season.
Bailly was excluded from United’s last two games against Milan and Leicester but is expected to play Niger on Friday for the Ivory Coast. – Rob Dawson
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Roma, Seville observe Lacazette developments
Sevilla, Roma and Atletico Madrid are among a growing list of teams monitoring ongoing uncertainty over Alexandre Lacazette’s future at Arsenal, sources told ESPN.
The striker is set to enter the final year of his contract with Arsenal this summer and the club are faced with a decision whether to offer him a new deal or listen to offers for the 29-year-old, who can start negotiating with overseas clubs starting next January, if he has not signed a contract.
Lacazette is in a strong position making the player a key figure in the Arsenal dressing room, sources said, and manager Mikel Arteta has signaled his intention to offer him a new deal.
“I hope a signed player will stay with us,” said Arteta, but talks have not started yet.
Lacazette has scored 13 goals for Arsenal this season and is second in the club’s top scorers after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Atletico Madrid have long been admirers of the France international but Sevilla and Roma have joined the chase. – Julien Laurens