Erling Haaland, the 19-year-old Norwegian striker with RB Salzburg, the club of former Impact boss Jesse Marsch, completed his move to Borussia Dortmund on Sunday. The son of ex Nottingham Forest, Manchester City and Leeds United midfielder Alf-Inge officially joins the Bundesliga side on four-and-a-half-year contract once the transfer window reopens in January.
Manchester United had been keen on the youngster’s signature, after all he had played under current United manager Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer at Norwegian club Molde. But according to talksport.com the Red Devils decided to exit the race due to demands made by the player’s agent, Mino Raiola, the Dutch-based Italian.
While United were not put off by the cost of the player or the agent’s fees, widespread reports say United ended their interest after Raiola, who also represents Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, wanted to secure a share from future sales, United not liking the future control such a move conceded to the agent.
The London Times states Raiola wanted include a buyout clause worth in excess of €50million ($55.9million USD) into Haaland’s new contract and also claimed that United were not willing to accept the demand that the player’s father will also earn a cut from the striker’s next transfer.
United are understood to want to keep Raiola’s influence at Old Trafford at bay. He already angered the club last summer by revealing he was trying to engineer a transfer for Paul Pogba.
Solskjaer and United’s decision may also have been influenced by the form Mason Greenwood, who is a year younger than the Norwegian and has scored eight times this season in all competitions. Other strikers are firing too. Halfway through this season Marcus Rashford has scored more times (16) than he has in any previous full season and Anthony Martial looks on schedule to surpass his 2018/19 total of 12.
After the move was confirmed, Erling Haaland said on Borussia Dortmund’s website -
“I had intensive discussions with the club management and the sports management, especially with Hans-Joachim Watzke, Michael Zorc and trainer Lucien Favre.
“There was a feeling right from the start that I absolutely wanted to switch to this club, go this route and play football in this incredible Dortmund atmosphere in front of more than 80,000 spectators. I’m already burning for it.”
Manchester United has the second-highest wage-bill in world football, too many overpaid, underperforming players the result of several years of poor recruitment. A situation that Solskjaer and the club are keen to put to rights.
Dortmund on the other hand have a great record when it comes to recruiting and developing attacking talent, then selling players on for healthy profit. Despite agent demands in the deal involving Haaland, the German club must still feel confident their investment will yield a healthy return.
United have been very careful to not allow Raiola any further influence on the Old Trafford dressing room.
Only time will tell if their approach, or that of Dortmund, who went all out and got their man, is the wiser move.