Premier League champions Manchester City are diving in head first into the battle for the signature of Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland. Manager Pep Guardiola has reportedly asked club officials to make sure that they are not left behind if the Norwegian makes the decision to leave his current club this summer.

The in-demand centre-forward is under contract with the Bundesliga side until 2024, but a release clause in his contract has opened the door for a potential move to one of Europe's biggest clubs this summer. It has been widely believed that Haaland is keen on playing in La Liga, after his father and his agent, Mino Raiola visited both the Camp Nou and Valdebebas last year.

Diario AS reports that Real Madrid is in the driver's seat, especially amid Barcelona's financial troubles. However, Manchester City does not have a cash flow problem like the Catalan giants. If it comes down to a bidding war, even a club as rich as Real Madrid will find it difficult to match what oil-backed City can put on the table.

Los Blancos will free up some funds when Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Isco make their way to the exit door this summer. However, club president Florentino Perez is also planning on signing PSG forward Kylian Mbappe. As such, they can't afford to make an astronomical offer to trump Manchester City.

Guardiola is desperate to boost his attack after the departure of all-time top scorer Sergio Aguero last summer, and the transfer of Ferran Torres to FC Barcelona just a few weeks ago.

Real Madrid will now have to bank on Haaland's desire to don the famous white jersey, which is the same thing they are counting on with Kylian Mbappe, who is being offered a lucrative extension by PSG.

Erling Haaland
Erling Braut Haaland celebrates after scoring Martin Meissner/POOL