As much as we Borussia Dortmund fans might not like Mino Raiola, for all his wild public antics, none of us can deny his talent as an agent. He knows how to pit clubs against each other, and more importantly, he knows how to use the media to do so. As Erling Haaland’s agent, Raiola knows that he’s got one of the most valuable players in the world under his belt, and if he manages to get a big club to dish out a nine-figure transfer sum, he’s going to reap one hefty agent’s fee.
Raiola did a high-profile interview with Diario AS (courtesy of ESPN) in which he answered questions about some of his biggest clients, including Paul Pogba and of course, Erling Haaland. Raiola’s mission in the interview was clear: to try to instill in Spain’s two biggest clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona, a sense of urgency in the race for Erling Haaland. Raiola surely knows that the more clubs there are involved, the higher Haaland’s transfer fee, and his wages, will get.
He first wooed Real Madrid:
I don’t know if Real Madrid could afford Haaland... I haven’t studied their finances. But I think so. The question is a different one: can Madrid afford not to buy Haaland?
He then turned his sights to Barcelona. While acknowledging the club’s financial troubles, he again pointed out that missing out on Haaland could be worse for the club in the long term, saying “It’s the same for clubs and players: a train goes past and you catch it or you don’t.”
There’s not really anything Borussia Dortmund can do about Raiola’s shenanigans. The club has already signaled that it won’t sell Haaland unless his transfer fee is eye-popping, likely around €150 million. Whether that’s an actual red line or a high bar to be lowered during negotiations remains to be seen. Whatever happens, it may be in Dortmund’s interest to sell this summer, to avoid the fee falling to the €75 million release clause in 2022, which would be highway robbery for any club interested in Haaland. If that’s the case, then Raiola starting a bidding war might not be so bad after all.