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Erling Haaland is the striker Manchester United must sign to compliment their squad

Manchester United completed the summer 2021 transfer window in style, signing Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo, which is widely considered a job well done. However, the job is not yet complete as United will require a striker and at least a defensive midfielder in 2022.

In the summer, it was stated that if United ended up with a defensive-minded midfielder, they would have had a very positive transfer window which would have strengthened the team in all areas. However, United are finding many problems in the midfield with Nemanja Matic considered as the only experienced defensive midfielder and his age not allowing him to play back to back matches regularly.

That said, the striker position will need strengthened in the summer with Edinson Cavani likely to leave the club, if he does not leave in January, with Anthony Martial also tipped for an exit, especially with the rumours that Newcastle United would be interested in signing the forward – even though there needs to be a solid interested, not just a rumour being born out of the £300 million takeover at the end of the week.

One striker that would fit in at United is Erling Haaland. United reportedly missed out on signing the player during the January 2020 transfer window with the player leaving RB Salzburg at the time. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had previously managed the player at Molde and United would have signed a considerable bargain at the time but Ed Woodward’s attempts to cut Mino Raiola out of the deal failed and Haaland signed for Borussia Dortmund – where he has continued his success.

Haaland has developed well at each club he has played for, starting at Byrne, where he made 16 appearances, not scoring a single goal or assist. At Molde, he made a total of 50 appearances, scoring 20 goals and six assists. At RB Salzburg, he made 27 appearances, scoring 29 goals and seven assists, which is where bigger clubs started to notice the Norwegian. At Dortmund, he has made a total of 67 appearances, scoring 68 goals and 19 assists, showing his improvement in the game.

Haaland has made a total of 161 appearances during his career, scoring 117 goals and 32 assists, which gives him, on average, a goal every 0.73 matches, assisting every 0.20 matches and offering a goal contribution every 0.93 matches, which is sooner or later going to get him in one of the biggest clubs in European football where he will be seeking to compliment the squad and win some of the biggest honours in the game. With the right tactics he could achieve that at United with the squad that has been built so far.

In September, it was reported that United Football Director, John Murtough and Solskjaer held a meeting about the clubs future transfers and they both agreed that Haaland was the better bet for the future, which is something that I would agree with. However, that does not mean that it will be easy for United to sign the striker as there will be many different clubs in for him in the summer of 2022 with his €75 million release clause at the Bundesliga club comes into effect.

Haaland’s physicality is suited to the Premier League an I am sure that he will bag loads of goals leading the line for a club in the league. United will be seeking to be the frontrunners for his signature by Raiola will stand in the way of any potential deal and with that man, nothing can be guaranteed as he likes to make money and move his players on from club to club.

This is the only real negative here. I am sure that Haaland would be interested in a Premier League move, which is arguably one of, if not the best league in Europe based on the competitive nature of the league at the fact that it does not seem to be a one horse race which is what we have seen in the past decade, and longer in some of Europe’s top leagues.

Written by John Walker

Erling Haaland ‘difficult to keep’ for Dortmund this summer with United, Barca and Madrid interested

Borussia Dortmund chief executive officer, Hans-Joachim Watzke has made the admission that the Bundesliga club will face a ‘big challenge’ to retain the services of Erling Haaland next summer.

The 21-year-old Norwegian has scored 68 goals and 19 assists in 67 appearances for the German club, which shows the ability of the striker. He arrived from Red Bull Salzburg in January 2020 for a fee in the region of £19.5 million, which is a bargain.

The striker has quickly become one of the ‘hottest properties’ in football since moving to the German side and there are many big clubs seeking to sign him in the summer of 2022, when his release clause becomes active. It is reported that Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona are all interested in the player.

For United though, there is one problem – Mino Raiola. Paul Pogba’s agent just seems to want to make money every few years by moving the player on and that would be no different at United, as has been shown by the constant talking about Pogba’s situation at the club, although United have stood firm in keeping him, so far.

Chelsea were interested in the player but the signing of Romelu Lukaku in the summer seems to have ended speculation of the Norwegian heading to Stamford Bridge. The release clause for Haaland is said to be between £75 million and £100 million, which considering the cost of some players in today’s market, holds a good deal.

The release clause has not officially been confirmed, as in the amount of the clause, but there has been much speculation suggesting that it does exist. Recently, Watzke spoke to Welt am Sonntag, talking about keeping Haaland, saying:

“Of course it will be difficult. I am not saying, however, that it is completely out of the question.

“We’ll do everything we can to keep our top players loyal to us in the future.”

Dortmund manager, Marco Rose seems to be more optimistic, perhaps because his job is to manager the players in their footballing ability, not getting contracts sorted. He was quizzed about Haaland and teammate Jude Bellingham, who has also been linked to United on whether the club could keep both – he said:

“The two boys are currently players with us. We are happy to have them and anything else is just rumours. In the summer, we will see how it goes for both players.

“But I will do everything to ensure they stay. Tie them down (to new contracts)? No idea (what the future holds), let’s see.”

United were made to wait to sign Jadon Sancho from Dortmund, seemingly being priced out during the summer of 2020, perhaps because of the costings involved and the coronavirus pandemic, which had, at the time, stopped supporters from attending matches in the stadiums, costing the club income. They signed the player in the summer of 2021, for a much smaller fee – this will not happen with Haaland though, or Bellingham for that matter.

United will be seeking to sign a new striker at the club, replacing Edinson Cavani, who will leave the club in the summer, possibly heading back to Uruguay for the remainder of his career. Despite signing Cristiano Ronaldo, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need another player in the squad, despite the development of Mason Greenwood who is tipped to become a centra striker for the club in the near future.

United had been linked to many strikers over the years and Haaland has been one that continues to be linked to the club. However, the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, despite their current financial problems, may entertain the player more than playing at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer has history with the player, not that it means much in the modern-day game, but it could account for something. I am sure that if Haaland is a player that United would like to sign, they will end up making a move for him. If not, there will be someone else the manager and the club have their eyes on.

Haaland would score bags of goals in the Premier League and the current United squad would create a lot of chances for him. One things that maybe needs to be resolved is the club signing a defensive midfielder, which is a position that is required at this moment in time being that Nemanja Matic is the only experienced player in that position. Once that is sorted, United will be ready to achieve, perhaps better placed than Madrid and Barca?

Written by John Walker

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.

copyright: JW