One year ago Manchester United missed out on the signing of Erling Haaland. The Norwegian has gone onto score for fun for Borussia Dortmund, quite predictably.
Haaland has 14 goals in 13 Bundesliga games this season despite his team’s poor form, and has 37 in 37 in all competitions since joining.
Meanwhile Anthony Martial has netted nine goals in his last 36 games in all competitions for United. If you go back one further and include his hat-trick against Sheffield United last season it looks only slightly better at 12 in 37.
A couple of things are striking about this comparison. Firstly that Haaland is vastly superior.
It is also notable that Martial has played a far busier schedule than Haaland, with his 37 games coming between late June and present day, while the Dortmund star’s goes back to last January.
Martial perhaps has simply buckled under the pressure of the intense demands at Old Trafford. Haaland meanwhile already looks like he needs another challenge.
Manchester United can provide that challenge now
Last year the prospect of joining United in pure sporting terms probably would not have appealed to Haaland as much as it would now. United were 30 points behind leaders Liverpool in late January in 2019/20.
Now we are just one point off the top of the league despite the loss in midweek (although City do have a game in hand). The progress is undeniable, with United spending the past fortnight in first position.
Dortmund sit down in seventh place in the Bundesliga and may not even qualify for the Europa League next season as it stands.
United will be able to have a better chance of convincing Haaland he should make the move to Old Trafford if the conversation was to occur.
A real need for a striker
Anthony Martial’s listless form is not the only concern. Neither Marcus Rashford or Mason Greenwood are best as central strikers at this point, which really leaves Edinson Cavani as the only top striker option.
He’s a pretty good option to have too. But at 33, he has a limited shelf life at Old Trafford, and probably won’t be here in three years time.
Haaland is just 20-years-old and could lead the line for United for the best part of a decade. Get him in and it is ‘problem solved’.
The Raiola problem
United’s reasons for not wanting to push harder for Haaland are linked to one man, Mino Raiola, who works as an advisor for the Norwegian.
Haaland also represents Paul Pogba, and has created a ton of problems at United. But guess what, when United are winning, Raiola is quiet and does not cause any issues. He only pipes up when United are struggling to compete.
Stick Pogba and Haaland in the same team and the chances are, United will be winning a lot of silverware, and Raiola will be quiet as a mouse.
A lot needs to happen here first. Pogba has to agree to a new deal, and United have to relaunch pursuit of Haaland.
How much would he cost?
Haaland has a release clause which comes into effect in the summer of 2022 of £66 million.
This is a bargain, but there is a strong chance a club will attempt to convince Dortmund to pay up this summer and offer a higher amount. Sky Sports report Chelsea are showing a keen interest.
United will have to pay big to win the race, but there is also a very high cost of letting him join a rival Premier League club. Look at it this way, where are the Haaland alternatives who offer the same quality? There aren’t any. United should be prepared to go big.
Dealing with Dortmund won’t be easy based on United’s poor experience last summer. But they are reported to be strapped for cash and prepared to sell up to two stars this coming summer, Sport1 claim.
What are the other priorities?
United’s other biggest priority is Haaland’s Dortmund teammate Jadon Sancho, along with a new centre-back.
For all Sancho’s quality and the need to strengthen the backline, neither of these additions would bring the type of guaranteed impact Haaland could provide.
United desperately need a striker. Haaland’s 14 league goes this season is double Marcus Rashford’s seven, who has the highest number of Premier League strikes of any of United’s forwards. Greenwood and Martial have only three combined.
There are other deals United can make to improve, but Haaland is the dream option. This looks clearer than ever after the midweek performance and if there is a chance of making a deal this summer, United have to pursue it.
- Manchester United stars including Ronaldo respond to Bruno Fernandes
- Teammates react to 17-year-old’s three assists with Ronaldo comments
- Ethan Laird is one of the Championship’s best dribblers
- Greenwood petrified Villa but he lacked composure at crucial moments
- Varane leadership crucial ahead of first United Champions League start
- Villarreal top striker misses Real Madrid game ahead of United clash
- One bittersweet positive from a terrible day for Manchester United
- 55 shots in two games and 0 goals: Three reasons it’s going wrong for Manchester United
- Bruno Fernandes creates 10 chances in one game: Positives despite penalty miss