Barcelona chief Joan Laporta ‘wants Erling Haaland signed before Lionel Messi contract’
Lionel Messi: New Barcelona president vows to keep star
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Barcelona chief Joan Laporta wants Erling Haaland signed first before negotiating a big new contract with Lionel Messi, according to reports. The Norway international has emerged as the club’s top transfer target. But, with so many top European clubs also in the mix, a deal won’t be easy to strike.
Barcelona recently named Laporta as their new president, with the 58-year-old taking over from Josep Maria Bartomeu.
And the Spaniard is determined to sign a marquee name this summer to mark his second coming, with Haaland in his sights.
The Borussia Dortmund star has enjoyed a terrific campaign at the Westfalenstadion, scoring 31 goals in the Bundesliga and Champions League combined.
And, now, OkDiario say Laporta wants to sign Haaland before negotiating a new contract with Messi.
The Argentina international continues to be linked with a move away from Catalonia, with Manchester City and PSG vying to secure his signature.
At the moment, however, Barcelona are yet to sit down for talks over an extension.
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Laporta has made it clear he wants Messi to stay. Speaking recently, he said: “I take the opportunity to say again that I will try to convince Leo (Messi) to stay with us.
“That is a must-do task, I will do all I can. He knows it.
“Whatever he does will be OK but we will try to make him stay because he is the best player in the history of football.
“And my apologies Leo, for saying this right here and right now, but you know of my love for you, Barca loves you a lot and if this stadium would be full when you play the next game I am sure you wouldn’t be able to leave.”
Barcelona think that, by signing Haaland, it would be an ace up their sleeve.
It would show they’re willing to give Messi the strong sporting project he craves, with the 33-year-old determined to win the Champions League once last time.
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Yet what ultimately happens remains to be seen, especially with so many other clubs also after Haaland.
Manchester United are admirers of the Borussia Dortmund star, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looking poised to lose Edinson Cavani to Boca Juniors at the end of the campaign.
Publicly, Manchester City have played down interest.
But, privately, Pep Guardiola would love to sign Haaland as a replacement for Sergio Aguero, whose Etihad exit has already been confirmed.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel sees Haaland as the ideal player to build his team around, especially after seeing the likes of Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud misfire.
And Real Madrid are keen, too, although their priority appears to be Kylian Mbappe.
Meanwhile, speaking recently, Mino Raiola claimed that the Dortmund striker was ahead of his own development.
“Haaland is in front of his own development,” he said.
“He is ahead of his own schedule. Maybe I was too careful when I said, ‘Oh no, let’s move to Dortmund instead of I-don’t-know-where’.
“This boy – I’m 100 per cent convinced and everybody’s convinced – can move to any club, wherever he wants, already on this level. He could have done that last year.”
Raiola has previously claimed only 10 clubs on the planet have the financial might to land his client.
“It is obvious that everybody is looking at Erling as one of those potential new future stars because it’s so difficult to do what he does at his age at his level,” he said.
“He will be one of the future stars of the next decade because we see that stars such as Ibrahimovic, Ronaldo and Messi are coming to an age where everyone asks themselves: ‘How long can we still enjoy them?’ So everyone is looking for the new generation.
“Only a maximum of 10 clubs can afford to buy [Haaland] and give the platform you would like after you’ve been in Dortmund… and four of those clubs are in [England].
“I don’t think there’s a sports director or trainer in the world who would say ‘not interested’.
“It’s like saying: ‘Is there a Formula 1 team who would not be interested in having Lewis Hamilton?'”
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