Rumour Has It: Man City in pole position to sign Haaland in major development

By Sports Desk February 13, 2022

The pursuit of 21-year-old Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland is well known.

Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich have all been linked with Haaland.

The race is set to heat up, with Haaland reportedly holding a €75 million (£68m) release clause in his Dortmund contract which triggers at the end of the current season.

TOP STORY – MAN CITY LEAD THE WAY IN HAALAND RACE

Football Insider reports that Man City are in the box seat to sign Haaland in a major development with his father Alf-Inge Haaland's connection with the club.

Alf-Inge played with City from 2000 to 2003 and is telling Erling to join the club ahead of other suitors.

City's Abu Dhabi owners are set to launch a concerted pursuit for the Norwegian and will be able to meet his release clause.

Madrid 's bid to sign Haaland may be aided by Adidas, who are associated with the club and looking to bring him on board, after his deal with Nike expired at the end of January.


ROUND-UP

- ESPN reports that Lyon are preparing a significant offer for Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette, whose contract expires at the end of this season. Lacazette joined the Gunners from Lyon in 2017.

- El Nacional claims that Madrid are open to selling Brazilian midfielder Casemiro, who is being targeted by PSG. Casemiro is a regular but his sale may open up funds for moves for Kylian Mbappe and Haaland.

- Franck Kessie will depart Milan when his contract expires at the end of this season, reports Calciomercato, with Barcelona entering the race to sign the midfielder, and Tottenham also interested.

- Sport claims that Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta already has an agreement in principle to join Barcelona on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season.

- Edinson Cavani will exit Manchester United at the end of his contract in June, with Spain his preferred destination rather than returning to South America according to Fabrizio Romano.

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    Harry Maguire feels he is "under a lot more scrutiny" with Manchester United than England, as the centre-back continues to impress at the World Cup.

    The Red Devils skipper has been a standout performer for Gareth Southgate's side at Qatar 2022, starting all four of their games to date and helping them to three clean sheets.

    It makes a marked contrast for the defender, who has struggled at club level over the past season-and-a-half, and has been deposed as a first-choice pick under new boss Erik ten Hag amid an injury layoff.

    Maguire himself has few complaints, acknowledging United were well under-par last term, and said he feels he is under the microscope more at Old Trafford than with the Three Lions.

    "At Manchester United, I'm under a lot more scrutiny," he added. "Everything I do gets analysed. Every pass I make gets analysed. Every goal we concede is a defender's fault.

    "If you're playing week in, week out as I did for three years, the last year hasn't been good enough. Everyone in the team didn't play well enough, and we came under a lot of scrutiny as players."

    Under Ten Hag however, United have overcome a shaky start - and the saga of Cristiano Ronaldo - to head into the World Cup break looking close to their best for two years.

    Maguire is delighted to see the turnaround, even if he is down the pecking order, and is relishing the chance to battle to get back into the Dutchman's thinking.

    "No one came out of the season with plaudits, so it was a general team issue last season, but this one has been much better," he added.

    "This is the first year I've really sat on a bench in a few games. I obviously got an injury as well, a thigh injury that kept me out for four weeks, but I'll fight to get my place back."

    Maguire will be expected to line up when England face off with defending champions France in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

  • Former Man Utd target Rabiot reiterates Premier League desire Former Man Utd target Rabiot reiterates Premier League desire

    Adrien Rabiot would like to play in the Premier League one day, the Juventus midfielder has reiterated.

    Rabiot was strongly linked with a move to Manchester United earlier this year, but reports suggested that even though a fee of an initial £15million (€17.4m) had been agreed, terms could not be reached with the player and the Red Devils instead opted to sign Casemiro from Real Madrid.

    The 27-year-old is currently with France at the World Cup and ahead of their quarter-final with England on Saturday, Rabiot said he would like to play his club football in the Premier League at some point.

    Referencing the short period he spent at Manchester City's academy in 2008, he told reporters: "It was a very good experience. I didn't do a whole season, though.

    "Everything went well while I was there. I really liked the atmosphere. It's really something that is only in England. It's different from France and Italy.

    "I have always said that I'd like to play in England in my career. I still have that desire. I'd like to evolve in the Premier League."

    Rabiot moved from Paris Saint-Germain to Juventus in 2019 and has made 145 appearances for the Bianconeri, with 11 goals and eight assists, though he has particularly excelled this season, scoring five goals in 16 games, with two assists.

    Although he is in the final year of his deal with the Serie A club, Rabiot seemed to suggest he has not made a decision on his future, but was clear he is open to a move to England one day.

    "I haven't got a Premier League team in mind right now," he added. "I haven't chosen a team or anything. It's a general thing.

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    Netherlands and PSV forward Cody Gakpo will "think about" a move to Manchester United should the Premier League side come calling again.

    Gakpo has been one of the stars of the 2022 World Cup so far and is reportedly a January transfer target for United, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich among others.

    The 23-year-old became only the second player in the competition's history, after Italy's Alessandro Altobelli in 1986, to open the scoring three times in the same group stage.

    He fired a blank in the 3-1 win over the United States in the last 16, but the in-form attacker still boasts a return of 17 goals and eight assists in 30 games this season.

    United are reputed to be the frontrunners to sign Gakpo, having already reached out in the past window, and he will consider any fresh interest in the coming weeks.

    Asked about missing out on a move to the Premier League earlier this year, coinciding with PSV failing to qualify for the Champions League, Gakpo said: "That was tough.

    "I've learned a lot from that. Next time I'll do it differently. I thought about Manchester United before, but when that didn't happen I didn't know anymore and started to doubt.

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    Gakpo's goals and all-round attacking play have helped the Netherlands through to the quarter-finals in Qatar, where Argentina await in a mouth-watering tie on Friday.

    The Oranje have lost just one of their nine meetings with Argentina, though the most recent of their four draws resulted in a penalty shoot-out loss in the 2014 World Cup semi-final.

    Argentina have found their groove with wins over Mexico, Poland and Australia since suffering a shock opening loss to Saudi Arabia, with Lionel Messi playing a starring role.

    "We shouldn't think only about him," Gakpo added in the interview with Dutch outlet NRC. "We need to win and it doesn't matter who we are facing.

    "Argentina are here for one reason and so are we. We are aware we have to play better than them, and we can do that.

    "But in a tournament like this, all that counts is the result. We have to find the right moments on the field to use each other's strengths."

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