It’s no secret Barcelona are searching for Luis Suárez’s successor.
Summer signing Antoine Griezmann was thought of as a possible heir to Uruguayan’s throne but it appears the club want to use the Frech star in a wide role.
As a result, the LaLiga leaders have been linked with Kylian Mbappé, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Lautaro Martínez and Roberto Firmino in recent weeks.
Sergio Agüero, meanwhile, was another name mooted but the Manchester City striker turns 32 at the end of the current campaign. He wouldn’t be a long-term solution.
The 19-year-old is having the breakout season of all breakout seasons. The Red Bull Salzburg powerhouse recently netted his fifth hat-trick of the campaign during win over Wolfsberger. The treble took his tally to 26 in 18 appearances including seven in four Champions League ties.
He’s being chased by a host of Europe’s elite with Juventus and Real Madrid named as interested clubs.
The report in ESPN goes on to suggest the €100million valuation of the Norway international is a sticking point, however. A source told them that the price tag was “not in line with his market value” and that, unless the Austrian side dramatically reduced their asking price, the Catalan club would not be willing to break the bank to sign the rampant forward.
But Barcelona are making a habit out of this and, ultimately, if they want a player they do end up paying for him. It happened with Ousmane Dembélé, Philippe Coutinho and Griezmann. The LaLiga side often attempt to take a hard stance during negotiations before eventually caving in.
So if Håland is the best-suited player to succeed Suárez, Barça will find the money required to make him the latest Los Culés star.
Erling Braut Håland scored his fifth hat-trick of the season at the weekend.
Preceding his third goal of the game, he covered the length of the pitch in less than ten seconds. Enormous strides. https://t.co/Bu5JSulugv
— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) November 13, 2019
But would it be the right move for the wonderkid? When it comes to Barcelona, there’s no middle ground. You’re either a success or you’re a failure. And it takes a lot to fall into the former category.
Big egos, huge personalities and players with eye-watering price-tags, they’ve all failed at Barcelona in the past. There are no guarantees when it comes to transfers but it feels like it’s even trickier to be deemed a success when it comes to calling the Camp Nou home.
Zlatan Ibrahimović found out the hard way. Alexis Sánchez also struggled to make his mark while Coutinho was the scapegoat for recent failures in the Champions League.
Pre-Barcelona, all were considered among the best in the world. And after their short spells with the LaLiga side, they rediscovered their form. It can’t be a coincidence.
This sort of thing doesn’t stop with established players, either. Barça have signed highly-rated youngsters in the past and few seem to fulfil their promise. Malcom lasted 12 months. Dembélé has been linked with moves away from the Camp Nou for the best part of two years, and the LaLiga champions are forever signing players who push him further down the pecking order.
Keirrison was the next big thing in Brazilian football when he signed for Barcelona in 2009. It didn’t work out for him and he never actually made an appearance for the club.
It’s difficult to succeed at Barcelona if you aren’t a La Masia graduate. Of course, some do but the likes of Dani Alves and Neymar are world-class players in their positions. Their games also matched up with how the team played so the transition was much easier for them.
Håland appears to be a generational talent. If managed properly, he’s a potential Ballon d’Or winner. He’s got everything needed to succeed. His style isn’t reliant on others, he’s more than just a penalty-box poacher and he’s got the workrate to play as part of a high-energy, gegenpressing team.
He thrives amidst chaos, but there’s nothing chaotic about the way Barcelona play football. They dominate and their meticulous approach allows them to grind the opposition down. With the talent at their disposal, they’re able to eventually bully their way to victory.
Of course, having a weapon like Håland enhances their chances of winning, but how much of his game would be limited playing in the Barcelona system? It’s an unknown until it happens and it makes the €100million even more of a risky investment.
On top of that, there’s no guarantee Lionel Messi, Griezmann and Dembele would suit playing with Håland. While the Norway international is a busy player, he isn’t one to run the channels and create space for others that way.
Barcelona might want to add Håland to their array of stars but by no means does a move to the Camp Nou result in success for all players. If he doesn’t want his career to stall before it’s truly underway, he should be looking at other clubs.