The road to Erling Braut Haaland is fraught with much danger and many obstacles, but perhaps none so daunting as the prospect of dealing with Mino Raiola. The super-agent is (in)famous for being an absolute nightmare — from control issues to exorbitant commissions to constant drama, he’s got it all, and then some.
Players hire him because he certainly gets the job done from their perspective. But from a club’s perspective, he’s a major hassle. Chelsea had steered clear at least once before, when we tried to get Romelu Lukaku to come back in 2017. But now we might bite the bullet of necessary evil, at least according to The Athletic, who report that we’ve been making nice with Raiola ever since, which could serve us well in our pie-in-the-sky Haaland pursuit.
Others are being less willing. According to ESPN, Manchester United are dropping out, having been less than impressed with Raiola’s recent “road show” in Spain — not to mention all their previous dealings with him (such as all the constant drama surrounding Paul Pogba, or with Haaland himself last winter).
Meanwhile, Manchester City are apparently also pulling back a bit, especially after they made Kevin De Bruyne the highest paid player in the Premier League when he signed his contract extension earlier this week. Haaland reportedly wants even more than De Bruyne’s reported £430k per week wages, and even if that’s just a starting point for negotiations, that’s the sort of game one has to play with Raiola. City are also looking to extend Raheem Sterling, while also trying to keep their wage bill in somewhat of a check.
So all that could make Chelsea the frontrunners for Haaland’s signature, at least in England. Of course, the 20-year-old might be heading to Spain, but one thing’s for sure, Raiola will continue playing all the potential suitors against each other until he can get himself (and his client) the biggest payday possible.
On the plus side, if anyone’s up for a bit of hardball, it’s Marina Granovskaia, so we might just have front row tickets to this heavyweight transfer-fight.