Is Erling Haaland worth United going back to Mino Raiola?

Erling Braut Haaland’s Champions League performances have caught the eye of clubs across Europe.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been widely linked with a swoop for his Norwegian compatriot with Manchester United in need of another striker.

The competition for his signature will be music to the ears of Haaland’s agent, Mino Raiola, whose name should set alarm bells ringing among United fans.

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United’s past relationship with Raiola

United have signed many Raiola clients in recent years; Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Sergio Romero, and Romelu Lukaku.

Ed Woodward’s transfer strategy has consisted largely of building relationships with agents, rather than overseeing a stringent scouting process to procur affordable, suitable talent.

Raiola is notoriously difficult to deal with; he tends to demand huge sums for himself, praying on United’s desperation to get big names through the door.

And he is always likely to encourage his clients to move to bring about another payday for himself; Pogba’s constant uncertainty and hints about leaving are a case in point.

The other three Raiola clients have already left, earning another payout from a man who seems to want his players to agitate for moves which line his pockets.

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Is Haaland worth the hassle?

Raiola has been an expensive nightmare for United, but he has sent players their way. So his involvement does not rule Solskjaer out of the race at all.

It’s just whether United want to have the hassle of dealing with Raiola again as they embark on a new, smarter transfer strategy.

Haaland has a staggering 28 goals to his name this term and at a time when United need a new forward, it’s easy to see why Solskjaer would be interested.

He did fluff his lines during the biggest game of his season last night, when he had chances to put Liverpool out of the Champions League.

Solskjaer has been aware of the player for years – perhaps begging the question over why he didn’t swoop during the summer before the global glare came his way – so any swoop should be based on a long-term judgement.

There’s been reports (Daily Mail) of a £17 million release clause and at that price, United can afford to pay Raiola what he wants (within reason) to try and make sure the chase for his signature swings his way.

But if the price gets towards the astronomical figures Europe’s top talents get banded around for these days, it might be worth United stepping away from dealing with Raiola and focusing on more affordable deals which are easier to conclude. Haaland isn’t the only good young striker out there.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.