What Solskjaer's new contract means for Man Utd's Haaland pursuit

Martin Macdonald
Is Erling Haaland Real Madrid’s future?

Manchester United's squad for the next few years is shaping up to become one of the most formidable in European football.

Ahead of this transfer window they already had such talents as Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford.

Now, in what has undoubtedly been one of their best windows since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson; Jadon Sancho has arrived from Borussia Dortmund for a fee of £73 million, while Raphael Varane is on the cusp of joining from Real Madrid for around £41m.

At the moment, Man Utd's centre-forward position is well-stocked after veteran striker Edinson Cavani signed a one-year extension to remain at the club, with Mason Greenwood available in reserve as he continues his development.

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The Uruguayan will turn 35 in February though and has previously indicated a desire to return to South America to be nearer his family, so he is certainly not a long-term option for the striker role.

In an ideal world, the Red Devils would go on to recruit Sancho's former team-mate Erling Haaland, who has been a target for the Premier League giants for a couple of years.

Haaland is one of the most sought-after players in world football following his goalscoring exploits for RB Salzburg and Dortmund.

Indeed, people view the Norwegian and PSG forward Kylian Mbappe as perhaps the next great individual rivalry within football after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi hang up their boots.

Solskjaer's part to play

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was recently awarded with a new three-yea deal to remain as manager of Man Utd, with CEO Ed Woordward saying:

“Ole and his staff have worked tirelessly putting the foundations in place for long-term success on the pitch.

“The results of that have become increasingly visible over the past two seasons and we are all looking forward to seeing this exciting team develop further in the years ahead.

“What is especially pleasing is the way this progress has been achieved with a blend of young, homegrown talent and top-class recruits, playing attacking football in the best traditions of Manchester United. We are more confident than ever that, under Ole’s leadership, we are heading in the right direction.”

Clearly, Man Utd are invested in Solskjaer's project, which could stand them in good stead in the transfer market - and their pursuit of Haaland.

Solskjaer and Haaland worked together at Molde and the striker credits the Man Utd boss with helping him develop before the move to Salzburg.

According to Manchester Evening News, Man Utd attempted to buy Haaland before the move to Dortmund, hoping to use Solskjaer's presence as a bargaining chip.

However, at that time Solskjaer's future at the club was far from certain, and it was this lack of clarity which led to Haaland opting against the move, as confirmed by his father Alf-Inge Haaland.

“You have to go to a club where the whole club wants you, not just the coach," he told TV2.

"I think that’s the most important thing, in addition to how the club has been over the last five or ten years and what direction they’ve taken.

“Because it’s dangerous to just sign for a coach, because he can suddenly be sacked.”

Now that Man Utd have announced the new deal for Solskjaer and baced him significantly in the transfer window, Haaland could be tempted to make the move to Old Trafford next summer when his exit release clause can be triggered.