In a time of economic hardship, it is right to feel appalled at the potential sums involved in Erling Haaland’s impending transfer
At this time of year it was a common thing for elegant young men of the 19th century to set off on a Grand Tour of Europe. Shuttered inside his velveteen stage coach, the brave traveller would wind from royal court to ancient city, taking in the rites of passage: harpsichord studies in Bologna, a marzipan banquet in Nîmes, a wonderful six-month tuition in the fine art of Etruscan wrestling from a youth called Hercule on the Istanbul docks.
It was interesting to see Erling Haaland embarking on a kind of modern-day superstar athlete equivalent this week. According to reports first published in Spain, Haaland has been seen winding his way from Dortmund to Barcelona in the company of his father and – more importantly – his agent, the fascinating, reviled, devastatingly effective Mino Raiola.