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Paul Scholes feels that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made a mistake not signing Erling Haaland in January

Former Manchester United midfielder and Class of 1992 graduate Paul Scholes feels that his former teammate and current United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer missed a trick not signing Erling Haaland during the January transfer window. This is despite the fact that Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood being on fire right now.

Martial have four goals in four matches, Greenwood has three in his last two matches and Rashford has only scored once, despite looking sharp since the restart. Borussia Dortmund signed Haaland for just £18 million in January, signing the Norwegian player from RB Salzburg with the player scoring 16 goals and three assists in 18 appearances since.

Scholes believes that Haaland could have been one of the final pieces in Solskjaer’s jigsaw at the club and could have gone a long way to solving United problems in front of goal this season. Solskjaer used to manage the striker at Molde. In total this season, Haaland has 44 goals and 10 assists in 40 appearances between both clubs.

It is certainly something that Scholes sees as a missed opportunity but for all he knows, Solskjaer could feel the exact same way. At the time the young Norwegian striker was linked to the club, United were in the middle of a rift with Mino Raiola, the agent who secured the move for Haaland. United were not going to do business with him again based on what he has been trying to engineer with Paul Pogba. Scholes said:

“Once the German football came back and I watched him properly, I thought, ‘Why did Manchester United not just pay whatever anybody wanted for him?’

“He looks that good, he’s still young, and he’s an out-and-out goalscorer. He’s quick as well, he’s got real pace. He’s a big lad, he’s a presence, and he scores goals – and that’s priceless.

“Looking back – and do you know what, he still might be available, who knows, in time – but United are going to have to pay big, big money for him. But so what? He looks the real deal.”

Whilst it looks like United have missed out, looking at Mason Greenwood, who has come a long way in his first proper season in the first team at the club, he excites a lot more that Haaland, in my opinion. Granted, I would love it if United signed a player like Haaland, who has come a long way in his ability over the last few years. Greenwood though in unexciting prospect and United lack of movement for Haaland could pay off.

Erling Braut Haaland has been scouted by Manchester United again; scoring twice and getting an assist

A week ago, it was reported that Manchester United scout Tommy Moller Nielsen had watched Molde’s 17-year-old striker Erling Braut Haaland score four goals for his club. This weekend, Nielsen was back watching Haaland, this time in a 5-1 victory over Valerenga. Haaland did not score four goals this weekend but he did set up teammate Mattias Mostrom in the fifth minute before scoring his first, after a corner in the 20th minute, before scoring his second goal of the game in the 57th minute.

Nielsen has seen Haaland score six goals in two matches which could suggest it may not be long before United declare an interest in the player with Nicky Butt seeking to bring the best players from Europe to the club this summer. Haaland has spoken of his desire in the past to play in the Premier League and with United seemingly interested in him, this could be his chance to learn at the club and work his way to representing the first team in the years to come.

Leeds United supporters, of which Haaland it one himself, would tell you that the player would reject United immediately and always choose to sign for Leeds. However, when you look at the success or lack of it in Leeds, why would a player turn down United if it meant his dream as a player would be close to happening – playing in the Premier League. It is not like Leeds will get there anytime soon.

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Since being relegated from the Premier League in the 2003/04 season, Leeds spent three seasons in the Championship before being relegated to League One at the end of the 2006/07 season as the bottom club in the league. Then they spent three seasons trying to achieve promotion, succeeding in the 2009/10 season, spending the next eight seasons in the Championship, achieving the dizzy heights of seventh just twice, finishing as a mid-table team on six other occasions, including last season where they finished 13th, six places below their finish in the previous season.

If Haaland has any common sense, rejecting Leeds and playing for a team that can remain in the top flight would be the best option for him. He would probably play first team matches for Leeds, despite his age, but at United, he would have to play U18, U19 or U23 level football, where he will continue to learn and develop then could win promotion to the first team and achieve his dream of playing in the Premier League. At Leeds, they would need to achieve Premier League football first, which after 14 consecutive seasons away, is going to be hard to achieve.

United may decide to make a move this summer, with a month to go before the transfer window closes a day before the opening Premier League match of the season. However, if they allow the weeks to progress, they may face more competition for Haaland. With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as his manager at Molde, he could be given the advice he needs to kick-start his career in the European game. However, he could remain in Norway, playing first team football for Molde this season, with clubs returning in January or next summer. The player turns 18 in 12 days.

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.”

copyright: JW