Erling Haaland met with Xavi over potential Barcelona move - report

Erling Haaland of Manchester City celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Everton FC at Etihad Stadium on February 10, 2024 in Manchester, England. 

Erling Haaland met with Xavi to discuss a move to Barcelona back in 2022, but a move fell through due to the club's financial issues, according to new reports in Spain.

The striker was courted by Europe's top clubs during a successful two-and-a-half year stay at Borussia Dortmund, with Manchester City eventually winning the race for his signature in the summer of 2022.

However, Mundo Deportivo report Haaland was keen on joining Barcelona, though ultimately they could not fund a deal due to their precarious financial position.

Barcelona first opened talks with Haaland's now deceased agent Mino Raiola in April 2021 as part of a Europe-wide tour in which he also visited Real Madrid, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and City.
In March 2022, Xavi - at this point now four months into his reign as head coach - met with Haaland and his representatives in Munich to explain the club's project, which enthused the Norway international.

Barca could not afford the financial package both Dortmund and Haaland's camp demanded and he ended up moving to City instead, where he has gone on to score 81 goals in 87 games so far, winning five trophies.

In the absence of Haaland, Barcelona instead turned to Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski, who played a starring role in last season's La Liga triumph but is on the decline at the age of 35.

Barca remain interested in Haaland and ideally would like to sign him in 2025 as a long-term successor to Lewandowski, with sporting director Deco in touch with Haaland's over such a move. However, other reports in Spain suggest he will hold out for a move to Real Madrid.

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