Report: Haaland's reps hold Barcelona talks before visiting Real Madrid
picture alliance / Getty

Barcelona have emerged as surprise contenders for Erling Haaland's signature - but don't rule out Real Madrid and other European giants vying for the Borussia Dortmund striker.

The Catalonian club hosted a two-and-a-half-hour meeting between Haaland's agent, Mino Raiola, his father, Alf-Inge, Barca president Joan Laporta and their incoming director of football, Mateu Alemany, on Thursday, ESPN's Alex Kirkland and Moises Llorens report.

However, Raiola and Haaland Sr. then flew out to the Spanish capital for discussions with Real Madrid, according to The Guardian's Fabrizio Romano. It's understood that Raiola intends to hold talks with other interested parties - Manchester City, Chelsea, and potentially Manchester United - in the coming weeks.

Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge quashed his club's links with the 20-year-old on Wednesday.

Raiola's talks with Barcelona "were positive if inconclusive," Romano reports, and primarily explored the viability of a transfer. Laporta and Raiola have a long-standing, strong relationship, and Barcelona hope this, along with technical secretary Ramon Planes' association with Raiola, could aid them in their pursuit.

Signing the Norwegian hotshot is seen as a strategic move by some behind the scenes at Barca because it would both strengthen the squad and ensure Haaland doesn't join a domestic or continental rival.

However, Barcelona have been beset by financial issues during the COVID-19 pandemic, so there is an acceptance that striking a deal could prove difficult. The club is considering offloading players from its wage bill - possibly Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann, and Samuel Umtiti - and investigating lines of credit to finance a transfer, according to Kirkland and Llorens.

Barca are aware that Haaland is enticed by a switch to Clasico rivals Real Madrid, while Manchester City's financial clout and connection with the player's father - Alf-Inge Haaland captained the club before injuries prematurely ended his career - make them serious contenders.

Haaland is reportedly available for €75 million in the summer of 2022 due to a release clause in his contract. But, for now, Dortmund have apparently set the high-scoring marksman's asking price at €180 million.

Comments
Report: Haaland's reps hold Barcelona talks before visiting Real Madrid
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!
Daily Newsletter
Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox