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

Manchester United sign ‘unique footballing talent’ with player joining academy

Manchester United look set to complete the signing of Norwegian teenager Isak Hansen-Aarøen. The player is due to turn 16 on Saturday (22 August 2020). The teenager became the youngest ever player for Tromsø when he made his debut at 15 years 319 days earlier this season and featured seven times in the clubs first team, coming from the bench and assisting in his final appearance for the club in a 5-0 victory over Sandnes Ulf. The teenager has also scored three goals in three appearances for Norway U16s.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has had Scandanavia scouted during his time as United manager, seeking to find the best young talent in the region and the club reportedly feel that they have signed a great talent in Hansen-Aarøen. Tromsø wished the teenager well in a post on their Instagram account Friday, confirming that the player has now left the club. The post , according to The Mirror, stated:

“A wonderful person. A unique football talent. Who just loves to play football now.

“From Fløya to TIL as a junior, into the academy as a 10-year-old, learns at the TIL school and debut for the first team as a 15-year-old. Assist in his last match for Tromsø IL.

“Thank you so much for the last ten years and good luck in Manchester United and on in your career. We hope you have a great time, see you soon.”

United have seemingly been scouring the glob to bring in the best talent to the clubs academy, making waves last summer, especially with the arrival of Hannibal Mejbri. This summer, the arrival of Hansen-Aarøen will be seen as a good acquisition with the player being highly-rated at Tromsø. United have already confirmed the signings of Joe Hugill, Logan Pye and Radek Vitek. The club has also been linked with Manchester City academy player Charlie McNeill, Barcelona fullback Marc Jurado and Real Madrid left-back Alvaro Fernandez Carreras.

As United look set to complete their summer spending at academy level, it is yet to be seen what moves United make when it comes to the first team, which needs some work this summer, in more than one position. The academy seems to be in the right hands though. Neil Ryan, the manager of the U18 team seems to be getting the player in that he feels will add something to his team and more importantly, add something to the club as they work to impress the manager at various age groups.

As Hansen-Aarøen has already had a sniff of first team action, he will be seeking to get a taste at United but he will probably have to wait a year or two for that, unless he plays in a pre-season friendly for the first tea, this summer, which might be doubtful. The player will be seeking to impress his coaches and earn a place in the U18 squad next season. It is possible that he could play at a younger level, but based on reports of the player’s ability, the U18 squad is the level he will probably start at, being tested at U19 level in the UEFA Youth League and possibly at U23 level.

Written by John Walker

Manchester United scouting Jens Peter Hauge showing the work the club is doing behind the scenes

Norwegian sensation Jens Petter Hauge was recently watched by top Manchester United scout Tommy Møller Nielsen in FK Bodø/Glimt’s 2-1 victory over Sandefjord on Sunday. The 20-year-old has made a total of 12 appearances for his club this season, which started in June, scoring eight goals and seven assists so far – 15 goal contributions meaning the player scores or assists on average every 1.25 matches which is a great statistic for the young winger.

Hauge predominantly plays on the left-wing but can also play on the right. He is contracted to FK Bodø/Glimt until the 31 December 2021, meaning he has just over a year remaining on his contract at the club. His last contract was signed on the 15 January 2020 and he joined the club back in April 2016, as a 16-year-old. The player will turn 21 in October. Møller Nielsen refused to confirm that he was scouting Hauge on Sunday and was quoted by The Sun as saying:

“It’s quite clear. When a club like Manchester United comes on the field, it will always be interesting.

“If that’s right [United scout watching him], then it’s very positive. But it’s not something I can go around thinking about because then my performance will drop.

“I have to focus on delivering. I will of course be very flattered if this is true, but I am now concentrating on performing in Glimt.”

Hauge is a talented footballer and has played in all but two of his clubs 14 matches played so far this season. His club sits at the top of the Eliteserien with 38 points after 14 matches, seven points clear of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s former club, Molde, who have played 15 matches this season. Since signing for the club around four years ago, Hauge have made a total of 108 appearances for his club, scoring 26 goals and 25 assists, which considering his age, is a good number of goals and assists.

Hauge made his debut at the age of 16 in the 2016 season and in the 2018 season, around the age of 18, the player was loaned to Norwegian club Aalesund where he made six appearances, failing to score a single goal or assist. Whilst nothing has been confirmed regarding United’s interest in the 20-year-old and the fact that Møller Nielsen has refused to say anything about his scouting mission this weekend, he did also speak to Dagbladet about his position as scout at United, saying:

“As Manchester United’s senior scout, I have a responsibility to keep up to date with what is happening in Scandinavia.

“Jens Petter Hauge plays, yes, but so do the rest of the players on the pitch. I check out all the players.”

Whilst there is nothing to suggest that Solskjaer is in the target to sign Hauge this summer, his performances at the club might warrant further inspection of the player with the transfer window closing on the 5 October and United needing to sign high-profile players this summer, there could be scope for United to do some kind of deal with the club, whether it be this summer, in January or next summer. It is even possible that United conduct a deal, leaving the player at the club for the remainder of the season. We shall see, I guess.

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