Manchester City staff have been openly mocking Manchester United’s £52million deal for Fred after landing Erling Haaland for a smaller fee, according to reports.
The Premier League champions announced on Tuesday that they had secured an agreement in principle with Borussia Dortmund to sign Haaland this summer – and they have landed a bargain in the process.
Interested clubs had until the end of April to trigger a release clause initially rumoured to be worth €75m (£64m), but in the end City have paid just €60m (£51m) for one of the most exciting players in world football.
According to ESPN, the cut-price fee has thrilled City’s hierarchy – who believe he would have cost upwards of €200m (£170m) on the open market – and prompted a few barbs in the direction of their Manchester rivals
The price for Haaland – who has netted 85 goals in 88 appearances for Dortmund – comes in at around £800,000 less than the £52m fee United paid for Fred in 2018, and that has led to jokes inside the club at the midfielder’s expense.
City had actually been looking at the Brazilian when he was still at Shakhtar Donetsk – having signed Fernandinho from the Ukrainian club five years earlier – though were not prepared to pay as much as United.
After a sketchy start to his career at Old Trafford, Fred has impressed more recently and will be one of few players to come out of United’s poor season with his reputation still intact, having laid on four goals and netted as many himself in 27 league outings.
Interestingly, ESPN also claim that United helped City’s deal for Haaland by buying Jadon Sancho from Dortmund last summer.
Due to a clause inserted as part of his move from the Etihad to Germany in 2017, City were paid €12m (£10m) – around a fifth of the total fee for Haaland – and that cash injection helped them put together a financial package for Haaland quickly.
The first instalment Dortmund will receive for Haaland, on July 1, will only be around £34m.
The true cost of the 21-year-old is likely to be far higher than that, though, with a massive signing-on fee and agents’ fee taking it closer to nine figures, while Haaland is set to become City’s second highest-paid player behind only Kevin De Bruyne.
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