Although Manchester City have of late been linked with Manchester United target Erling Haaland this week, there’s a strong possibility Old Trafford might have the advantage in talks due to a particular Norwegian link.
The Manchester Evening News understands Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and football director John Murtough remain in agreement that Haaland should be the club’s long-term target, however, the youngster has also won admirers from Europe’s other elite sides.
There are new details emerging indicating that City are most likely frontrunners to sign Haaland, as Etihad chiefs are said to have locked in on the Norwegian as their primary target, which would then see bitter Manchester rivals United soon engaged in battle for the centre-forward.
The report also says that Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola is ‘set to hold talks’ with City regarding a deal in January.
As it stands, United are allegedly at an advantage when it comes to transfer talks to sign Haaland as Solskjaer enjoys a warm relationship with the player after having been instrumental in handing the young Borussia Dortmund star his professional debut when he was the manager at Molde four years ago where the youngster had his fledgling start.
And what are Haaland’s thoughts on Solskjaer amid the fresh transfer links this week?
“He has had a huge impact on my life, both as a person and as a trainer,” Haaland said on Solskjaer in October 2019.
“He won the Champions League and was an incredibly good player. He has taught me a lot. I have dreamed of playing for the best clubs in the world my whole life and I especially like English football.”
Haaland’s obvious admiration for Solskjaer goes some ways, as the forward later explained in April 2020.
“When I look back, it was really a pretty strange time, the start of 2018. That match [against SK Brann] somehow became a kind of turning point for my career, if you can say it that way,” Haaland recalled.
“Before that game, Solskjaer and I did some practice on finishing. Not just crosses. I remember he taught me some easy rules; the first one, was on touch, that I don’t use too much power and try to destroy the goal or goalie with the ball.
“I think that I was thinking about doing that and it was something new that he told me. I trained a bit on that, but without scoring.
“But at least I had it in my head after that training session. That was something he taught me in the days before that game – and he has taught me a lot to be calm, and be on your toes and come to those situations where the ball is coming.
“It is then you have the chance to score. He deserves a lot of credit for teaching me that.”
Solskjaer himself has shown no reticence in answering questions on Haaland, either, speaking fondly on his former charge as recently as February this year.
“When you have had kids and players through as a coach, you follow them and I keep in touch with Erling,” Solskjaer revealed.
“It’s great to see him become the player he has become and [how] he works to improve all the time. It’s great to see him become the player he has become and [how] he works to improve all the time.
“He’s a Dortmund player – we just wish him well there and let’s see what life will bring later on.”