Barcelona target Erling Haaland ‘demands Lionel Messi stay at the club’ in transfer talks

Barcelona: Koeman on Messi's future after defeat

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Barcelona recently held talks about signing Erling Haaland. And, now, reports claim the Borussia Dortmund star has demanded Lionel Messi continue if he’s to move to Catalonia in this summer’s transfer window. The Norway international has been in fine form this season, scoring 31 goals in the Bundesliga and Champions League combined.

Barcelona are determined to sign a marquee name when the transfer window reopens.

Joan Laporta is keen to make his second spell at president in spectacular fashion and, recently, held talks with Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola about a blockbuster deal at the end of the campaign.

The player’s father, Alf-Inge Haaland, was also present.

And Spanish website OKDiario claim that, during negotiations, it was made clear that Haaland wants Messi to stay if Barcelona are to stand any chance of securing his signature.

The Argentina international wanted to leave the club a year ago.

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He’d grown tired of Barcelona’s consistent failure to win the Champions League, with their last triumph in that competition coming way back in 2015.

Manchester City were widely considered to be his preferred destination at that time but, in the end, Messi ended up staying put.

Barcelona made it clear he had to stay, with the 33-year-old previously believing he was entitled to leave on a free transfer.

Since then, Paris Saint-Germain have also joined the race for Messi – especially with the futures of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar currently up in the air.

And with the Argentina international yet to commit to a new contract, there’s still a possibility he’ll leave.

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If Haaland joins Barcelona he wants to play alongside Messi, who is widely considered one of the best players of all time.

But whether that actually happens remains to be seen.

Barcelona aren’t the only club interested in signing Haaland this summer, with many other top European clubs also in the mix.

Manchester United would love to land the Norway international, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer previously managing his compatriot at Molde.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has requested the signing of the Dortmund striker having seen Timo Werner, Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham struggle for consistency.

Publicly, Manchester City have ruled themselves out of the race.

But, behind the scenes, Pep Guardiola still craves the arrival of Haaland as a replacement for club legend Sergio Aguero.

And Real Madrid are in the battle for Haaland too, although Mbappe appears to be their priority at the current moment in time.

Meanwhile, speaking back in December, Messi opened up his desire to leave Barcelona.

“I had been telling [Bartomeu] for six months that I wanted to leave and asking for his help and he just said ‘no, no, no,” Messi said.

“So, I sent the burofax as a last resort to show I was serious, to make it official.

“I’m eternally grateful to the club for everything but it felt like a cycle had ended and I needed a change.

“I knew this would be a transition year and I want to fight for the Champions League and league titles.

“The president didn’t want to let me go and then he started to leak things to make me look like the bad guy.

“Then everything that happened happened, but I am still calm that I did what was right at that moment.”

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