Borussia Dortmund chief CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has almost resigned himself to losing Erling Haaland next summer.
The Bundesliga side looked destined to lose the prolific Norway striker this summer but they dug their heels in and insisted the 21-year-old was not for sale.
Dortmund made the decision to keep the forward and will be hoping he can fire them into the Champions League again.
Next summer though the former RB Salzburg striker has a clause in his contract which will allow him to move on for £66m. That will likely be the staring bid for Haaland with his agent Mino Raiola looking for a 2022 summer “auction”.
Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Real Madrid are all believed to be monitoring Haaland’s situation.
Former Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge thinks that Haaland will be out of the reach of the German champions.
“We will see a real auction in which, taking into account that the amount for the transfer is already set in the contract, he will be taken by the club that offers the highest salary. I don’t think it’s possible for any Bundesliga club, not even Bayern,” said Rummenigge last month.
Raiola is expected to up the ante regarding a move for Haaland, who scored twice in BVB’s 4-2 victory over Union Berlin at the weekend. He now has 68 goals in just 67 appearances for the German club.
And Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke knows they will have their work cut out keeping him for another season.
BVB will find Haaland replacement
Watzke told Welt am Sonntag: “Of course it will be difficult. I am not saying, however, that it is completely out of the question. We’ll do everything we can to keep our top players loyal to us in the future.”
However, Watzke then said he was confident of finding another marksman to replicate Haaland’s efforts.
“We have to have the self-confidence to say we’ll find a new top striker again,” he added.
And the North Rhine-Westphalia-based side do have a strong tradition of developing strikers.
Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both played for Dortmund before securing big-money transfers.
One replacement mentioned already is Chelsea’s Timo Werner. The Metro claim Chelsea misfit Werner has been earmarked – though old rivals Bayern Munich are also in the frame.