Sun, 23 Jan 2022

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Borussia Dortmund's heaviest ever defeat in the Champions League might affect the club's efforts to keep their star striker Erling Haaland longer than summer 2022.

The Black and Yellows' most pressing issue came to light after a 4-0 humiliation by Ajax.

The team's inconsistency is not only endangering the season's goal to win silverware, but doesn't deliver convincing facts for the Norwegian international to stay another year. The painful defeat might have shown Haaland that he has to leave in order to satisfy his ambitions.

While Haaland must have felt like a lone wolf desperately waiting for support in the Ajax box, Dortmund coach Marco Rose complained about his squad's mental state.

The Dortmund coach called it a matter of determination - not to give up when "you are behind by two goals with 60 minutes to go."

Rose mentioned Dortmund's national rival Bayern Munich, praising the Bavarians' unbreakable fighting spirit.

"You don't see them with their heads down in a situation like that. Joshua Kimmich, for instance, would be furious about two conceded goals," the 45-year-old bemoaned.

Rose and team captain Marco Reus talked of a significant setback. Fans and pundits now fear the humiliation could affect the outcome of the season and Haaland's decision.

"We have been thought a lesson. We have been shown our limits. This is extremely painful," said midfielder Julian Brandt.

With Haaland having developed into one of Europe's best strikers, the 21-year-old might head for pastures new in order to satisfy his demands.

The striker is said to have an exit clause next summer worth 75 to 80 million euros. Signing an outstanding forward like him would appear to be a bargain for financially strong competitors on the international stage.

The attackers' market value is rated at 130 to 150 million. International ratings agencies currently classify the forward as the world's most valuable player.

His Champions League goal record of 21 goals in 18 games might tell the story aside from his total goal record of 70 in 68 games.

Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Bayern are said to be interested in signing the Norwegian. Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel recently admitted, "We are talking about him."

Dortmund's chances to convince the dynamic youngster to stay are close to zero without tangible success, though club officials haven't yet given up on the striker. "It's not impossible to keep him. He feels comfortable as he is our fans' hero," said former German international and club advisor Matthias Sammer.

Sammer and CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke might have to change their minds after the devastating evening in the Netherlands.

Media reports speak of Dortmund eying 27-year-old Genk striker Paul Onuachu as Haaland's replacement.

In Amsterdam, Haaland paid a visit to Dortmund's disappointed fans after the game. For some, the Norwegian's walk appeared like a farewell tour.

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