European Super League: What happens now?
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Barcelona are determined to bolster their attacking options next season, regardless of the failed European Super League project. The La Liga giants were one of 12 Founding Members for the breakaway tournament, which was set to effectively replace the Champions League.
President Joan Laporta had claimed he would be against any proposals during the presidential elections, but performed a U-turn ahead of the controversial announcement.
However, after widespread condemnation, Laporta admitted that he would leave it in the hands of members – although that now appears optimistic.
Of the original dozen, only Barca, Real Madrid and Juventus, with the latter’s chief Andrea Agnelli confirming the tournament is all-but over.
The Blaugrana were keen to enter into the arrangement with their financial troubles threatening to derail any hopes they have of competing at the top of the game.
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In the year to last June, Barca’s net debt raised to a whopping €488million, almost double that of the previous 12 months.
But even after the collapse of the ESL, Laporta is committed to backing Ronald Koeman and will go all out to replace Luis Suarez, who was allowed to leave the last year.
Former Barca star Neymar has been touted as a potential option, as Paris Saint-Germain look to fund their own transfer plans.
But Marca claim that management at Nou Camp have already drawn up a three-man shortlist as an alternative to the Brazilian star.
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The report suggests that, unsurprisingly, Erling Haaland remains their top target. The Borussia Dortmund striker is arguably the most highly sought after play in all of football.
Haaland’s father along with agent Mino Raiola, has met with representatives from both Barca and Real, but could be priced out.
It is believed that Dortmund will demand more than £150million, with Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, all linked from the Premier League.
They suggest that the widespread and competitive auction, mean that Barca may fall short, but they remain determined to stick in the race.
Marca add that the two European heavyweights were locked in negotiations in 2020, but failed to thrash out a deal.
Like their former ESL counterparts, Inter are facing an unsure financial future and could look to cash in on the Argentinian.
The third option is mooted to be Sergio Aguero, who has been heavily touted as a target, even before he announced he wouldn’t extend his Man City contract.
He and Lionel Messi are close friends and should the latter extend his contract, it would appeal to both to play together before they retire.
Along with Barca; Juventus and Chelsea are both said to be interested in signing the 32-year-old.
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