Erling Braut Haaland scored a hattrick to make it six goals in six games as Norway ran riot over Romania in the Nations League. Heavily tipped to join Manchester United in the January transfer window, Haaland opted for Borussia Dortmund instead, and the Red Devils may already be ruing a missed opportunity.
The 20-year-old put the home side ahead after 15 minutes and the Norwegians doubled their lead just before the half-time break thanks to a goal from former Crystal Palace striker Alexander Sorloth. Haaland’s second goal was simple but effective, a cool finish from six yards out.
But the best was yet to come, as he turned on the edge of the area, and rifled home a powerful strike past the helpless Romanian goalkeeper. Haaland has now scored an incredible 51 goals in his last 48 games for club and country.
According to ESPN, Haaland and Jadon Sancho remain at the top of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s list of transfer targets, despite the fact that United chief Ed Woodward has failed to sign either of the players in the past two transfer windows.
Over the weekend, it was revealed that the Red Devils pulled out of a deal to sign Haaland in January as they refused to meet his agent Mino Raiola’s demands. They also rejected his camp’s request for a release clause to be inserted into the Old Trafford contract.
Given the fact that he only cost the German club a mere £17m, it seems that Dortmund have had the last laugh. The Norwegian international bagged 13 goals and 2 assists in 15 games in the Bundesliga last season, whilst he averaged 2.3 shots per game, via WhoScored. This season, he has already scored four goals in three games, taking 3.7 shots and 1.3 key passes per game, as per WhoScored. In comparison, United’s Anthony Martial has failed to score a single goal in the Premier League so far.
Sebastian Kehl, a back-to-back Bundesliga title winner under Jurgen Klopp, heaped plenty of praise on the “incredible” Haaland and believes that he can follow in the footsteps of his former teammate Robert Lewandowski, whilst Paul Scholes says that he wants his old side to sign Haaland or Kane instead of Sancho.
As is often the case, the Red Devils were in a mad rush and scrambled to sign Edinson Cavani, Amad Diallo, Alex Telles and Facundo Pellistri on deadline day. After arriving as a free agent, Cavani will earn wages worth £210,000-per-week, even though he hasn’t kicked a football since March and the 33-year-old has signed a two-year deal.
Whilst Solskjaer has bemoaned the lack of options on the right wing, Mason Greenwood, who has predominantly played as a centre-forward in the past, has shown he is more than capable of filling in in that position. Given the current circumstances, it’s hard to imagine United will be able to afford both Haaland and Sancho next summer, so Solskjaer, if he is still around, will have a tough decision to make.
AND in other news, Mason Greenwood may be the biggest winner from Man United’s Sancho failure…