The ‘other Haaland’ that Barça did not see

In times of economic hardship, such as the one being suffered by the FC Barcelona, it is even more important to discover talent before the rest of the world. That is what the ‘scouting’ departments should be for, that function that in other times had the modest name of scout, when there was no internet, YouTube, or Big Data and all logistics was a man with a notebook and a pen.

In 2019, Miguel Rico published in MD that Barça was ruling out the signing of a young Norwegian striker, a certain Erling Haaland, who among other broad details had scored nine goals by himself in the same game. Technical details prevailed, such as doubts about his mobility in the reduced space. Borussia Dortmund, a club that among others discovered an unknown person in 2008 Robert Lewandowskihe paid more attention to the prosaic analysis of counting the goals and the games played by the Norwegian giant, so he did not hesitate to pay 20 million euros to take him from Salzburg.

The football paradox is that the best representative of the style in Barcelona, Pep GuardiolaThree summers later, he took Haaland to Manchester City. It was in 2022. Although it is not something so exaggerated, that same year, there were more cases that, seen with today’s advantageous perspective, are reminiscent of the ‘Haaland Case’ due to its dizzying revaluation in the market. Nor did Barça pay attention to them.



It cost 10 million and there is already talk of 100

Kvicha Kvaratskhelia He is a Georgian winger who in 2022 signed the sports director of Napoli, Christian Guintoli, of the modest Dinamo Batumi, of the Georgian League. The Partenopean club paid ten million euros for this skilful left winger and scorer who is now 22 years old and who, according to the prominent leader of Serie A, is no longer worth less than 100 million. Napoli is on its way to its first ‘scudetto’ since those it won at the command of Diego Maradona. They already call Kvaratskhelia for a reason ‘Kvaradona‘, after seeing him score 13 goals and give 15 assists in 28 games in his debut season in Italy. Tied until 2027 and with a modest tab of 1.5 million euros for each of them, he did not attract the attention of any club in the League despite the fact that, for example, he was the author of the goal for the Georgian team in a match against Spain that was played in March 2021.

Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani scores to 2-0 during the Bundesliga soccer match between Eintracht Frankfurt and Werder Bremen, at the Deutsche Bank Park Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 18 2023. (Arne Dedert/dpa via AP)



It arrived in Frankfurt for free and they already offer 120

Kolo Muani It has shot up its price spectacularly. Eintracht Frankfurt, with brilliant management by its sports director Markos Krosche, this striker who is now 24 years old was brought from Nantes when he learned that his contract was ending in June 2022, therefore without having to pay a transfer euro. Months later, it has already emerged that several Premier League clubs, with Manchester United as favorites, are thinking of offering between 100 and 120 million euros to break his contract, which expires in 2027. At 24, Kolo Muani is signing a great debut season in the Bundesliga, with 16 goals and 14 assists in 34 games. The French international scored 13 goals and seven assists in his last season in Ligue 1.




Al City, a world champion for 20 million

Julian Alvarez only has one problem and that problem is called Erling Haaland. The fashionable striker in world football is ahead of the Argentine at Manchester City, a club that did not think twice about having a “goal surplus” in its squad and paid 20 million euros to River Plate in 2022 by a great 23-year-old striker, who scored 18 goals in his last season in his country and gave six more in 26 games. That excess of finishing talent poses Pep Guardiola some conscience when it comes to allocating minutes, as was seen last Tuesday in that Champions League match against Leipizig, when the ‘citizen’ coach took over from Haaland after the Norwegian cyborg’s fifth personal goal to give him a few minutes on the field to Julian Alvarez. Even so, little by little, Julián Álvarez has already scored 10 goals and three assists this season with City. His prominence grew in the Argentine team that ended up world champion. And that Álvarez started as a substitute for Lautaro Martinez. But, of course, Lautaro is not Haaland, although in his day Barça was close to paying 100 million euros for the Argentine attacker from Inter Milan.

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