Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman was fairly evasive when asked for his thoughts on speculation the club will try to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland in the summer transfer window.
The Dutchman told a pre-match press conference that he did not want to comment on the rumors that have increased following the appointment of Joan Laporta as the club’s new president.
“I don’t think it’s the moment to talk about a player who is not Barca’s. Out of respect for his club and for our players, especially now with the new president,” he said. “A lot is being talked about next season and signings, but I don’t want to get into that conversation. I want to concentrate on the game, the players we have now, and we will see next season. We will see the areas we can improve. Right now I don’t want to talk about that.”
Laporta has made Haaland the club’s “absolute priority” this summer and is willing to do “whatever is necessary” to land the sought-after forward, according to Marca.
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Koeman Ready to Talk Transfers With Laporta
Yet Koeman did admit he is ready to talk transfers with Laporta. Barcelona plays Real Sociedad on Sunday and then does not have another match until April 5 because of the international break. The Barca boss said he will use that time to discuss the future with the new club president, including potential transfers.
“During the international break there will be fewer training sessions so I’ll have time to talk to Laporta,” he explained. “I’ll use that time to talk to the staff, the president, about the team, signings, and what’s possible. The objective to get to know each other a bit better.”
Haaland is reportedly one of six players Barcelona has “on the table” ahead of the summer transfer window. Free agents Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, David Alaba, Eric Garcia, and Georginio Wijnaldum are also on the shortlist.
Laporta In Contact with Haaland?
Koeman’s press conference came in the wake of a fresh report from Lluis Minguelsanz at Diario Sport who states Laporta has been in contact with Haaland’s agent, Mino Raiola, to “ask him about the situation.”
The two men are believed to have a good relationship already, and Laporta has made it clear that Barcelona is interested in landing the prolific Norwegian despite the club’s well-documented financial problems.
Haaland is believed to have a release clause of €75 million ($90m) that comes into play next summer, meaning Dortmund may prefer to sell at the end of the current season. The striker is expected to fetch at least €100 ($119m) million and will not lack for offers from top teams around the continent.
Haaland has emerged as one of Europe’s most in-demand players because of his goalscoring exploits for Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund. The 20-year-old has 37 goals in 35 games in what’s been another prolific campaign for club and country.