Erling Haaland’s brace for Dortmund against PSG once again highlighted that Manchester United missed out on a gem. But what’s done is done.
Haaland himself insisted last week Dortmund were always his top choice, Sky Sports reported.
Add in agent Mino Raiola to the mix too and this was always going to be a difficult deal to do.
We should take some solace that United at least identified him as a top target and tried to do the deal, but that’s little comfort. It was too late.
United must look at themselves
Instead the real questions relate to why he preferred Dortmund, and what United must do to address this in the future.
The reason Raiola’s client Paul Pogba is not happy is United’s failure to challenge for league titles.
This is a big frustration at United too, and it’s the end effect of years of going backwards since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
United are attempting to rebuild. It’s not happening fast enough for many, and the club’s league position poses a question over whether it’s heading in the right direction at all.
Getting it right is key to attracting elite players. Haaland was a shortcut to success, one which was just out of reach this time.
Focus needs to be on being in the right position to sign the next Haaland when he becomes available. Perhaps this is even Haaland himself in two years time.
It’s so important to qualify for the Champions League, this season, and repeatedly.
The consistently strong defending which has finally yielded a run of clean sheets (six in eight) is a positive sign United may be on track to finally producing some consistency.
Progress is likely to be gradual this season, while new signings in the summer will take us further forward.
Whether any of them can transform us in the way Haaland might have been able to is unclear.
It will be a case of continuing to make small steps, until the one player who can tip us over the edge is available, and chooses United because he believes this club are ready to win league titles again.
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