Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland could join Barcelona in the summer despite them being more than a billion euros in debt, says Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.
The 21-year-old Norwegian has a 75m euros (£62.6m) contract release clause that could see him leave Dortmund at the end of the season.
“Barcelona need to get rid of big wages and big players, but it’s possible and they’re confident they can do it,” said Balague on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Euro Leagues podcast.
Barcelona, despite the promise from the new president Joan Laporta to keep him, had to let Argentina forward Lionel Messi leave on a free transfer last summer because of La Liga’s financial fair play rules, but also because they did not fully believe Messi was the future of the club.
But they did sign 21-year-old Spain forward Ferran Torres from Manchester City in a £46.3m deal last month, with Laporta saying Barca were “back as big players” in the transfer market.
However, they have not yet been able to register Torres because of financial reasons.
“Laporta is selling a hopeful future,” added Balague, who said Barcelona are finalising a loan from American investment bank Goldman Sachs of 1.5bn euros to rebuild the stadium and its surroundings, which has to be added to the 595m euros they already got from the bank. Some of the loan money will cover the 1.3bn euros debt that Laporta has admitted the club has to face.
“He’s trying to imply they are up for getting any of the big players and Haaland is possible, very possible.
“How do they get Haaland? They get rid of a bunch of players and Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti, Sergino Dest, Clement Lenglet, Frenkie de Jong, Martin Braithwaite, Oscar Mingueza, Luuk de Jong are for sale and then they’re able to bring in someone. It’s complicated, but not impossible.”
Balague explained that Barcelona might retract from their rejection of a private investors CVC loan La Liga has got for its clubs, and that might help raise the wage cap.
Haaland has scored 76 goals in 74 games for Dortmund in all competitions since joining from Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg in January 2020.
He has been linked to Europe’s biggest clubs, but Balague believes La Liga would be his preferred choice.
“He would get more money in the Premier League but he prefers Spain,” added Balague. “The lure of Real Madrid and Barcelona is still powerful.
“The relationship between [Haaland’s agent] Mino Raiola and Laporta is very close. If the money is there they [Barcelona] would be considered and in exchange, Laporta would sign some of Raiola’s young players.
“Barcelona have been linked to the Ajax right-back, and Raiola client, Noussair Mazraoui.
“If Barcelona do manage to get that money, Haaland would love to go to Barcelona. But that is what Raiola is telling Laporta. I very much doubt he has stopped talking to other clubs, including Juventus, Paris St-Germain or Premier League ones.”
Barcelona are fifth in La Liga, 15 points behind leaders Real, and failed to make the knockout stages of the Champions League.
They have not been able to register Torres yet as their wage bill is too high and have tried to reduce that by offering France forward Ousmane Dembele, 24, a new deal, but on lower terms, which the player has rejected.
“Dembele is out,” added Balague. “They could offer him on a free now to release money for Ferran Torres or leave Dembele out of the squad for the rest of the season if he does not accept the conditions.
“They are going to have to sell players and a lot of players because financial fair play for Barcelona means they can only keep 25% of money that comes in and the rest has to go to pay the debt.
“It is not easy to go back to the top, but certainly they are doing a lot of gambling to get there.”