Manchester United scouted Erling Braut Haaland on the day he put four past Brann

Manchester United have recently scouted 17-year-old Molde striker Erling Braut Haaland, the son of former Leeds United and Manchester City player Alf-Inge Haaland, and watched him score four goals against Norwegian league leaders Brann on Sunday. United’s Scandinavian scout Tommy Moller Nielsen to run the rule over the talented forward with Nicky Butt, the head of United’s academy seeking to find the best available talent in Europe to keep United impressing at the various youth ranks ahead of the new season.

Haaland scored four goals in just 21 minutes in the 4-0 victory which saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side rise to fourth in the league, eight points adrift of Brann. Haaland has played 32 times for the club since making his transfer from Bryne in 2016, scoring ten goals, this being his second season at the Norwegian club. Haaland is the club top goalscorer so far this season with six goals. Obviously, United, if they are interested in the player, will need to watch him again in the coming weeks but there will be interest from a number of clubs, Leeds United being one of them.

Haaland’s father used to play for Leeds so that has resulted in Leeds Live suggesting that the player would choose Leeds over United ‘every time’. Looking at the history of Leeds United and the fact that they are no longer considered to be a top club, being relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2003/04 season after playing in the league for twelve seasons, falling into the Championship and being relegated to League One after three seasons, spending three seasons in that league before being promoted again to the Championship.

If that is considered a club that a player with prospects can find first team football and remain happy with not playing in a top-flight league, then that is down to the choice of the player. Just because his father played for Leeds does not mean he would choose to play for them. He also played for City, so does that mean he would play for them over United too? With this mentality, Kaspar Schmeichel should have only played for Gladsaxe-Hero, Brondby, Manchester United, Sporting Lisbon, Aston Villa or Manchester City – yet plays for Leicester City.

United would be doing well to sign a player with the eye for goal like Haaland. He’s played three games for Norway’s U19 side, scoring five goals which show he could become a player with the goalscoring ability of his Molde manager, Solskjaer. Obviously, it is early to suggest where the player could go. At 17 he has a long future ahead of him and would no doubt be wanting to play first team football, which at United would be unlikely. However, playing in the academy, for either the U18s or U23s he would play better teams than in Norway and also play in the UEFA Youth League.

Haaland seems to be keeping his feet rooted firmly to the ground though. He was asked by reporters about United scout watching him to which he stated he is a Molde player and he is focussed on performing for his club. Haaland is a Leeds United supporter, so Leeds fans may suggest he would choose them over any other club. However, not every player thinks like that and will have high aspirations of succeeding and with the form Leeds have shown, it may not be a marriage made in heaven for him.

“It’s nice that they are here. I’m a Molde player, so I need to focus on performing here. It’s that simple”

Molde manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke about Haaland reminding him of current United striker Romelu Lukaku, which shows the Norwegian side may have a good player on their hands. If that is the case, he will only stay in the country for so long before he seeks a move to find more competitive football in a tougher league, which will help him develop as a better player.

“He can become a top striker for sure. He reminds me of the type of striker Lukaku is. There is a lot of interest in him. We have had offers from good clubs this year but we rejected them. Former Champions League winners.”

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