Attention buyer! Should Haaland’s injury problems worry Man City?
It looks like even Erling Haaland has grown tired of the endless speculation surrounding his future.
During the last international break, he asked Norwegian coach Stale Solbakken to be excused from his media duties.
“He explained to me why,” Solbakken told reporters. “He explained to me in a pleasant and factual way, and in a very convincing way, that he needed it.
“I see no reason not to respect that. The next time we meet [in June], Erling will be sitting here to answer your questions. Then this saga will be over.”
This ‘saga’ is actually set to end well before the summer, with Manchester City set to imminently confirm Haaland’s summer move to the Etihad Stadium.
It will come as a relief to everyone involved.
Having missed out on some high profile transfer targets in the past, City will be delighted to have landed one of the most exciting young talents in world football; a potential generational talent.
Indeed, it’s currently impossible for the club’s fans not to be excited about the prospect of Pep Guardiola adding a prolific centre-forward to a squad brimming with creative attacking talent.
Dortmund will also be delighted to see the back of the media circus that has surrounded Haaland since joining Red Bull Salzburg just over two years ago.
Sure, they would have loved to keep Haaland, build a team around him for the next 10 years, but that would never happen.
They knew from the start that Mino Raiola had a very specific career path in mind for his latest wonderkid, and Signal Iduna Park was little more than a stepping stone.
Dortmund never had a problem agreeing to let him leave in the summer of 2022 for €75m (£63m/$83m).
All they asked for was that his inevitable move be finalized as quickly as possible and with the minimum of fuss, which is why they set a deadline for this whole deal to be done.
“We want a decision as soon as possible,” said Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl. Sky Sport Germany.
“We are in talks, but there is nothing more to say about it at the moment. I don’t want to open any new talking points on Erling. We have a very good relationship of trust.
“But the sooner there is a decision the better. And hopefully it will be timely.”
Haaland will be too, as doubts over his fitness lead to doubts over his marketability.
Clearly €75m isn’t a lot of money in the current economic climate for a 21-year-old who has broken one Champions League record after another since exploding on the scene at Salzburg, and scored a ridiculous 82 goals in 85 appearances for Dortmund. .
In truth, the transfer fee looks like a bargain for potential generational talent.
However, the true cost of any deal for Haaland would be far higher if his wage demands (€50m gross per year) and agent fee (potentially up to €70m) are taken into account.
And that’s why, as GOAL revealed earlier this week, Real Madrid are no longer fully convinced of the merits of signing Haaland.
Firstly, they don’t want to risk a young player’s salary destabilizing a dressing room full of proven performers.
Secondly, Madrid are concerned about the number of lingering injuries Haaland has suffered this season.
This, let’s remember, is a club that has been badly burned in recent years by superstar signings blighted by fitness issues, namely Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard.
Florentino Perez, for all his penchant for grand statements in the transfer market, doesn’t want to break the bank for another player who could end up spending more time in the treatment room than on the pitch.
At this point, of course, it must be stressed that there is no suggestion that Haaland should be plagued with injuries for the rest of what should be a glorious goal-laden career.
However, given the money at stake, Madrid’s concern is unsurprising, and not just because of Haaland’s fitness issues this season, but also the way they are being treated and discussed at Dortmund. .
One thing that needs to be emphasized right away is that Haaland is no anomaly at Dortmund this season.
Marco Rose’s side have been decimated by injuries in 2021-22, which explains why they are nine points behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, failed to progress from their Champions League group and have subsequently eliminated from the Europa League by Rangers.
Additionally, they have suffered from an abnormally high number of muscle problems, but although they have looked into the matter in hopes of finding an explanation, they see no pattern.
Dortmund insist that each injury must be viewed in a different light, on a case-by-case basis.
In Haaland’s case, he was sidelined three times with muscle issues, missing 10 games in total.
He also suffered a blow to his ankle on international duty, which forced him to retire at half-time in Norway’s 9-0 loss to Armenia on March 29.
Haaland hasn’t missed a second of playing time since returning to the club, playing all 90 minutes of this month’s Bundesliga encounters with RB Leipzig, Stuttgart and Wolfsburg. He even ended a five-game drought in the latter’s 6-1 rout.
However, Rose raised eyebrows last week when he revealed that Haaland might have to take painkiller to play against Wolfsburg.
“Erling can’t be pain free just yet,” he told reporters. “I was sent a picture [of the ankle injury sustained against Armenia]: the foot was at a 90 degree angle with the leg. It means something must have snapped there.
“Erling tried very professionally to deal with the swelling and fixed it by the next game.
“But he could take a little pill before the game. Then he should be fine.”
Rose’s comments didn’t go over well at Dortmund, with Kehl calling them “a bit unfortunate”, while insisting the club had taken every possible precaution in terms of Haaland’s health.
“Erling still wants to play,” he explained, “and [the medical team] always try to make the right choice with him.”
The exact nature of the ankle problem, however, remains unclear and, again, Rose’s take on the matter has only added to the confusion, with the coach apparently revealing that Haaland had refused to undergo an MRI .
“You work with the player on how to deal with an injury, whether it’s doing x-rays or not,” he explained.
“It’s not like we can put the boy in the tube (MRI machine closed) if he doesn’t want to.”
Rose’s suggestion sparked speculation as to why Haaland would be reluctant to undergo analysis, with a German newspaper WAZ claiming it could be linked to the fear of jeopardizing his summer transfer.
At this stage, that seems highly unlikely, with his move to Manchester expected to be finalized before the end of the month.
Until then, however, expect Haaland to continue to keep a relatively low profile, especially with Dortmund facing a massive Bundesliga battle with Bayern at the weekend.
Indeed, it’s worth recalling that after being excused from his media duties while on duty in Norway last month, Haaland did nothing but take to Twitter to explain his stance with a short statement.
He wrote: “A few years ago a farmer gave me some advice: let your feet do the talking and everything else will be fine.
“I said okay and left.”
And he’s right, of course. He essentially found himself at the center of a two-year transfer saga, with every move scrutinized to the nth degree.
But while uncertainty naturally surrounds Haaland’s injury troubles this season, as long as he continues to make statements on the pitch, he really won’t need to.