“That’s not true,” says Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola when asked about Erling Haaland’s alleged release clause which could be activated in 2024 or 2025.
Guardiola’s statements came as a shock, but it turns out the Spanish publication Diario AS says the former Barcelona coach is deploying the same tactic used by Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke when Haaland was first linked with an exit from the German club.
It should be remembered that Watzke repeatedly said that ‘there is no clause’ in Haaland’s contract at Dortmund. This was done largely to take the pressure off their player, but in the end City managed to activate the €60m clause that was still there.
As things stand, history seems to be repeating itself. Guardiola denies that his star striker doesn’t have an exit clause in his contract, but as confirmed by several media outlets and journalists, including Fabrizio Romano, there is.
Over the years, Haaland’s late football agent Mino Raiola has worked to a certain pattern. The model was to include an exit clause which can be activated within the first two years under certain conditions.
In the RB Salzburg striker’s era, Dortmund had the preference, followed by City and now Real Madrid. So far, it’s been quoted that Madrid would have the option of signing the Norwegian for €200m in 2024 or €175m in 2025.
The fees may be astronomical, but Real Madrid have a situation to deal with. For starters, Karim Benzema is 34 and as previously reported, an automatic activation will be in place once he wins the Ballon d’Or this year which would extend his current contract until 2024.
Beyond that, Real Madrid will have to look for some to fill the void. Now it’s believed that Haaland wanted to join Real Madrid this summer but he knew it would be impossible to move Karim Benzema.
Thus, contacts have been maintained by the Madrid club in order to keep the door open for his arrival in the future. And they think convincing the player will hold the key to the deal.
When the opportunity arises for Real to explore the possibility, they will certainly have to present Haaland with a project where he could feel at home, or even better than the way he is being treated at City this season.