Manchester City are optimistic they can see off competition from Real Madrid to sign striker Erling Haaland this summer, sources have told ESPN.

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City are in the market for a striker and are confident they can put together a financial package to cover the €75 million release clause in Haaland’s contract with Borussia Dortmund (which comes into effect this year), the Norwegian’s wages, and other associated fees including payments to agents.

Sources said that the departures of Angelino, Ferran Torres and Jack Harrison (for combined fees of around €85m) have left City in a strong financial position ahead of the summer window.

They also believe the lure of working with Pep Guardiola and a track record of success which has seen the club win three of the last four Premier League titles can convince Haaland to spend the next stage of his career at the Etihad Stadium.

Haaland also has a personal connection to City after his father, Alfie, represented the club between 2000 and 2003.

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The possible inclusion of a release clause in any contract he signs with City — which would activate at a later date – is considered a hurdle but not one that cannot be overcome.

Real Madrid remain interested in the 21-year-old but that signing Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe on a free transfer this summer is their priority.

Madrid are waiting for the outcome of the Haaland soap opera before they define their transfer strategy for the upcoming transfer window. They remain optimistic about the arrival of Mbappe as a free agent and, according to sources, also want to strengthen central midfield with a player who can give Casemiro competition, with AS Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni on the shortlist.

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However, Haaland’s decision will have a decisive effect on the rest of Madrid plans because the club are aware that they will not have the same money for additional players if they finally end up signing the Norwegian.

Sources added that Madrid are pessimistic about their chances of signing Haaland because they believe City are the frontrunner.

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Courtesy: Rob Dawson & Rodrigo Faez for ESPN FC

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