Manchester City could have to pay a massive £265 million to bring Erling Haaland to the Etihad next year.
According to a fresh report from Sky Germany, City are leading the race to land the Borussia Dortmund striker in 2022, but could face a humongous bill if they are to wrap up a deal for the 21-year-old.
It is understood that Haaland has a release clause of around £65 million, set to come into effect at the end of the current campaign, written in to his contract in Germany. That figure fails to account for his sizeable wage demands, however, or for the agent fee that his representative, Mino Raiola, would almost certainly demand too.
Factoring in those expenses, Sky claim that the total cost of the transfer could comfortably eclipse the world record £200 million fee PSG paid for Neymar back in 2017.
What are the bookies saying?
According to the latest figures from Betfair, Man City are still leading the pack when it comes to snapping up Haaland – even with this new report on his jaw-dropping price tag.
Pep Guardiola's men are 2/1 favourites to land the Norwegian, although there's not much in the way of daylight between themselves and closest competitors PSG, who are priced at 3/1.
Further back are Liverpool at 4/1, followed by a plethora of other European giants including Real Madrid (6/1), Bayern Munich (8/1), and Barcelona (10/1).
City’s neighbours Manchester United are rank outsiders at 12/1.
How likely are Man City to seal the deal?
These new claims about the total cost of any transfer package involving Haaland could prove to be a stumbling block.
Money is rarely an issue for City, but as we saw with this summer’s pursuit of Harry Kane, Etihad chiefs are also reluctant to pay exorbitantly over the odds for players, no matter how badly fans might think they are needed.
An initial fee of £65 million for Haaland looks like a steal, but with all of the inevitable add-ons, that price soon begins to rise sharply. Think of it like the transfer equivalent of a Ryanair flight.
Whether City will be willing to front up that amount of money could depend on their achievements this season, and whether or not Guardiola feels it is absolutely necessary that he brings in a recognised centre forward.
Either way, this is one that is bound to rumble and rumble.
What are the fans saying?
It’s fair to say that supporters are a little torn on the matter.
@Sahilpa86232916 tweeted: “Haaland is not worth whatever the bid is. So no, if the price and wages are ridiculous don't buy him. Rather go for some other cheap option who is good enough to play for us. Or just develop Torres and Delap and Foden as false nines”.
But @grndll1963 tweeted: “Haaland would be an excellent signing. He impressed in last years CL and is playing some very good footie for his club too. In fact, I would say 'a must for a signature'.”
And @mcfc_dan_ is hopeful that the club’s patient approach could pay dividends in the long-term, tweeting: “I will happily have another striker-less season if it meant we get Haaland”.