Dortmund's Erling Braut Haaland
Dortmund's Erling Braut Haaland Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Borussia Dortmund face a fight to keep Erling Braut Haaland in the close-season with several elite clubs reportedly eyeing the Champions League record-breaking goalscorer.

Dortmund host Sevilla in the last-16, return-leg on Tuesday holding a 3-2 lead after Haaland showcased his deadly finishing with two well-taken goals in the first leg.

The Norwegian became the first player to score 10 Champions League goals in just seven games for a single club. The 20-year-old has scored eight goals in just five Champions League games this season in a staggering career tally of 18 goals in 13 European games for Dortmund and former club Red Bull Salzburg.

He tuned up for Sevilla with two early goals at Bayern Munich on Saturday before the club world champions fought back to claim a 4-2 win as Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick.

Despite coming off with a cut ankle at the Allianz Arena, Haaland is expected to be fit to face Sevilla.

He could break Kylian Mbappe’s record of 19 Champions League goals scored by a player before his 21st birthday.

His phenomenal record of 29 goals in 28 games this season in all competitions has attracted the attention of Europe’s top clubs.

“Only a maximum of ten clubs can afford to buy him and give him the platform he wants after his time in Dortmund,” Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola said recently.

Real Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea are reportedly at the head of a queue of clubs eager to buy Haaland out of his Dortmund contract, which expires in June 2024.

Release clause?

There is reportedly a release clause in his contract which applies from the summer of 2022 for around 105 million euros.

Dortmund stand to make at least five times the 20 million euros they paid Salzburg for Haaland in January 2020.

According to German magazine Sport Bild, Haaland admires Real, who are seeking a replacement for Karim Benzema, 33, whose contract expires next year.

Manchester City, owned by Sheikh Mansour, have the financial clout to sign Haaland with their striker Sergio Aguero, 32, out of contract in June.

A move to the Etihad Stadium would see the Leeds-born striker follow in the footsteps of his father Alf-Inge Haaland, who played for City from 2000-03.

Even Bayern have expressed interest in Haaland as a potential replacement for Lewandowski, who is 33 in August.

“Lots and lots of things are possible, you can’t rule anything out,” Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick said Saturday when asked about signing Haaland. “But that is something for the future. He has a long-term contract at Dortmund and a lot of clubs come into play.”

Bild echoed Dortmund fans on Sunday by insisting: “Under no circumstances should Haaland be sold this summer. Haaland is Dortmund’s life insurance policy.”

It could be that Haaland is not the only star to leave Dortmund this summer as England winger Jadon Sancho has long been targeted by Manchester United.

Like Haaland, fleet-footed Sancho has a market value of around 100 million euros.

According to website Sport1, Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel wants to buy both Haaland and Sancho having been given a budget of 260 million euros for new players by Blues owner Roman Abramovich.

Juventus' Weston McKennie
Juventus' Weston McKennie Image Credit: Reuters

Making waves

Over in Italy, Weston McKennie is a symbol of a new generation coming through at Juventus along with Dejan Kulusevski, Federico Chiesa and Matthijs De Ligt.

The 22-year-old Texan became the first player from the United States to play for the Turin giants when he arrived from Bundesliga club Schalke last summer on loan.

Coach Andrea Pirlo has hailed the young international as “a rock” in a difficult period for the Italian champions with an ongoing injury crisis.

Juventus trail Portuguese club Porto 2-1 going into the second leg of their Champions League tie in Turin on Tuesday.

Forward Chiesa, 23, pulled a goal back for the Italians late in Portugal, for a precious away goal as they look to avoid crashing in the last 16 for a second consecutive year.

McKennie helped Juventus out of the group stage with a goal in a 3-0 win at Barcelona in December having lost the home leg 2-0.

It was the second Champions League goal for McKennie having previously scored one for Schalke.

The Italians have won the European title twice, but not since 1996, and Pirlo warned that the Porto game was a “decisive match we can’t mess up”.

McKennie has found his feet in northern Italy and his move from Schalke was made permanent on Wednesday, Juve buying him outright for 18.5 million euros on a deal until June 2025.

“We chose him for his characteristics, we followed him,” said Pirlo. “Now that he has been bought outright he can’t think that he’s arrived. This is a starting point. If he thinks he has reached the top he has made a mistake and is not on the right path.”