Man Utd make Haaland 2022 priority – here’s how he could line up with Ronaldo

Robin Bairner
Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland is wanted by Europe's top clubs

Manchester United have reportedly made Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland their summer transfer priority for 2022.

They are unlikely to be alone. With Haaland’s release clause set to come into effect in less than a year, he will be available for a maximum of €90 million, and while he will command a massive pay packet, he will still be regarded as relatively cheap.

Real Madrid, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are all currently interested in the forward, while Chelsea could be another chief pretender in the race should Romelu Lukaku not hit the ground running at the notoriously cut-throat Stamford Bridge side.

Man Utd, meanwhile, might appear something of an unlikely destination for Haaland given that they added Cristiano Ronaldo to their ranks this summer, but ESPN believes the Norway star remains their top target.

The challenge for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be to make a system that works to fit both players into it.

Here are three possibilities:

The ultra-attacking 4-4-2

Man Utd - Haaland and Ronaldo 442

Ronaldo is now a pure centre-forward and Haaland also occupies that position, so could the pair of them play together in attack? It is perhaps the most obvious solution.

Given that Man Utd have invested heavily in Jadon Sancho this summer, the long-term plan is surely to play with wingers, so in this case Sancho and Marcus Rashford would both start.

The problem comes in terms of finding a balance in the centre of the field. Bruno Fernandes is the issue, with the Portugal star having established himself as an indispensable member of the squad.

Of course, he could play out on the left to provide creativity from that area, with a figure like Fred or Scott McTominay joining Pogba, assuming he is still at the club, in the centre of the park.

The balanced 4-3-3

Man Utd - Haaland and Ronaldo 433

Offering more midfield balance is the 4-3-3 system, which would see Fred inserted between Bruno and Paul Pogba in the midfield.

In attack, meanwhile, Ronaldo would be asked to play in a wider position, although he will be 37 by that point and has transitioned away from playing in that role because he is more effective in the centre.

It’s probably not a way that Ronaldo would like to play in what might be his last year at Old Trafford.

Optimise Bruno in a 4-2-3-1

Man Utd - Haaland and Ronaldo 4231

This formation is not dissimilar to the one above, though has Bruno Fernandes in his favoured No.10 role, where he has shone since arriving at the club from Sporting CP.

However, this formation draws Ronaldo even further away from his preferred role as a centre-forward and would require him to take on more defensive work. With Pogba also on the left of midfield, Luke Shaw could be left with an impossible task.