The upcoming European Championships have dominated the headlines in world football (soccer), but underneath this international tournament rests the battle for the signatures of three star players: Erling Haaland, Harry Kane, and Jadon Sancho.
Transfer Update – Erling Haaland
The 20-year-old Norwegian sensation has been the talk of the football world since arriving at Borussia Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg in 2020. Haaland has 51 goal contributions (40 goals and 11 assists) in 43 games in the Bundesliga and 23 G/A in the Champions League in 16 matches. Haaland’s most memorable display of individual brilliance was for Norway in an Under-20 match against Honduras in which he scored nine goals.
The Norway international has a release clause between €75-100 million that is set to be triggered in the summer of 2022, with Dortmund’s ownership stating that they will hold onto their star until that date in time. However, if they are to wait to sell their young talisman, they could miss out on netting roughly €100 million in profit, as the star has currently been valued at €180 million.
While teams such as Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid would love to bring the 6-foot-4 striker into their side, the Champions League finalists— Chelsea and Manchester City— appear to be the closest to agreeing on a fee.
Manchester City has the financial capabilities thanks to owner Sheikh Mansour and his $22 billion net worth; however, City has recently been found in violation of financial fair play, or an unofficial governing system that prevents rich clubs from completely monopolizing the world’s talent pool and have never paid more than $83.6 million for a player.
Chelsea, on the other hand, has full support from its owner Roman Abrahmovic, full pockets from their Champions League victory and a desperate need for a true center forward capable of converting goal-scoring opportunities. No team in Europe created more chances than Chelsea since coach Thomas Tuchel arrived with the Blues, yet his highest goal-scorer in the Premier League was midfielder Jorginho, who finished with seven goals, all from the penalty spot.
Although Haaland had previously announced that he would be happy to stay at Dortmund after they qualified for next year’s Champions League and the club itself seemed disinterested in selling the player, talks have been reported to have progressed within the last 10 days.
Journalist and fellow Norwegian Jan Aage Fjortoft said on ESPN FC’s Extra Time that Chelsea is determined to meet Dortmund’s lofty asking price, while Dortmund is more receptive than they once were. He later followed this with clarification on his Twitter account.
“Chelsea working intense to get Erling Haaland. He is seen as the “missing” player to make them challenge for the [Premier League]-title next season. Fee very high, but confidence that this can be solved,” Fjortoft publicly tweeted.
Haaland has since been reported to be interested in joining Chelsea either this summer or the one after, though there would be much more competition for his signature in 2022 after the release clause is triggered.
Abrahamovic promised Tuchel that he would get him any player that he wanted if he could finish inside the top four in the Premier League— not only did Tuchel meet this requirement, but he also led his side to the status of “champions of Europe.” With the extra money in the bank and bargaining chips such as young English talents Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi, the Blue could find themselves with a new #9 next season.
Haaland’s arrival in London (where he was born a few hours from) would instantly elevate Chelsea into a top-5 team in the world.
Transfer Update – Harry Kane
The leading goal scorer and assist man in the Premier League told club owner Daniel Levy that, after being with the club since 2004, he would like to leave for a new challenge. Kane is one of the most lethal strikers in the world and could step into any team in the world as a starter bar Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
Kane is in the heart of his prime at the age of 27 but has a contract that does not expire until 2024, meaning that Tottenham could hold onto him if they choose to. That being said, Kane has been a loyal servant to the club and is regarded as a hero, and is expected to be playing elsewhere next year.
Chelsea displayed relative interest in Kane, but the prospect of helping their arch-rivals will likely prove too much for Levy to sell him to the Blues. There is also bad blood between the owners when it comes to transfers, with Tottenham derailing Luka Modric’s transfer to Chelsea and Abrahamovic ruining Willian’s move to Spurs.
Manchester City won the Premier League without a true striker regularly featuring in its starting XI but would like to fill the void if given the chance, but again, Kane’s supreme talent could demand in the neighborhood of €100-150 million. Guardiola has also announced that he views signing Aston Villa winger Jack Grealish at the same level of importance as Kane, suggesting that City will be unlikely to fork out an excessive amount of cash.
PSG has been speculated as a potential landing spot for the English captain due to their availability of money, though no concrete interactions have been reported. The biggest club in France has also recently signed Georginio Wijnaldum and is looking to extended Xavi Simons and, after agreeing to a record contract with Neymar and still needing to re-sign Kylian Mbappe, would be unlikely to dole out an exorbitant amount for Kane. This does not even take into account the Parisians being on the verge of signing Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donarumma and striking a €60 million deal for Inter Milan’s Achraf Hakimi.
If Chelsea cannot acquire Haaland from Dortmund, Tottenham may be forced to do a deal with the devil if they cannot find a spot where they can unload Kane, or will have to deal with benching him and keeping him on the books as he waits for a team to swoop in.
Transfer Update – Jadon Sancho
One of the worst-kept secrets in the transfer world is the adoration that Manchester United has for another Borussia Dortmund product, Jadon Sancho.
Sancho is as technically gifted and tricky on the wing as they come and is just 21-years-old.
Although he had a poor start to this season, Sancho has received multiple caps for England and has 89 goal involvements (38 goals and 51 assists) in 104 Bundesliga appearances.
Manchester United finished second in England this season despite its lackluster play at times and missing that bit of individual brilliance to get them past Villareal in the Europa League final, a match the Red Devils lost 1-0.
Sancho’s arrival would add to a United frontline that already includes Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford and Burno Fernandes, and would become one of the most feared in the Premier League.
There is a gentleman’s agreement in place between Sancho and Dortmund’s ownership that will allow him to leave without hassle if a team can meet the asking price of €100 million. Man U attempted to complete this transfer last season but could not reach the German Club’s valuation, and it appears that they will try to low-ball Dortmund again.
Manchester United is regarded as the most valuable in English football despite its lack of international success in recent years and could theoretically afford to pay for the transfer— it is just a matter of if they will or not.
There have been loose links between Sancho to a few other clubs, though nothing solid as of yet. It would appear that if Sancho is to appear outside of Germany next season, it will be for the Red Devils.
Details on these players’ futures are still developing but will be picking up steam over the coming weeks as talks escalate and owners line up the money to make ground-breaking transactions.
Stay with Knup Sports for more Soccer news and transfer updates!
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him.