Should Manchester United sign Erling Haaland?
Background image: Stacey MacNaught, CC BY 2.0
The hype for Erling Braut Haaland is real. Rumours suggest Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer held meetings with the Norwegian prodigy last week. Tabloids report the 19-year-old will join Manchester United in the winter transfer window. Should he?
Haaland fits perfectly into Solskjaer's plans. He worked under the United boss who speaks highly of him.
In Paul Pogba's absence, Ole prefers a formation where Marcus Rashford and Daniel James are on the wings, Anthony Martial up top and Jesse Lingard or Andreas Pereira in a hybrid No10/ second striker role. Young Mason Greenwood provides decent backup for the Frenchman. Lingard at his best is a squad player. Martial struggles to make headway against deeper blocks due to the lack of service.
If and when Pogba returns, OGS could shift to a 4-4-2 formation but the Red Devils' injury history and tactical shift from Jose Mourinho to Solskjaer leaves them with a single option at the No.9. Replacements for Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez are due. If United want to cahllenge for trophies while competing in four competitions, they need squad depth.
Haaland is a complete striker. His build suggests a target man but he is just not that. He can hold onto the ball, drag defences out of position, create space and spray penetrative passes for other teammates. He is a proven scorer and United desperately need them.
Haaland threatens Greenwood and Martial's development. Recently turned 24, the Frenchman is yet to enter his peak. After a rough stretch under Mourinho, he is finally finding his shooting boots at Old Trafford.
Manchester-born and bred, Greenwood has risen admirably from Carrington. Second to Rashford in scoring for United, he rarely starts. His work makes it increasingly hard for Ole to drop him even though he's just 17. How far would he fall in the pecking order with Solskjaer pressured to play his expensive new acquisition, Martial and the returning Alexis Sanchez?
Haaland's agent is Mino Raiola. There can be no arguing the fee and salary attached to the young Norwegian will be excessive. United can afford the money but they've had a bitter taste of the politics with Paul Pogba. Even if Haaland's services are secured, United would be fending off Real Madrid, Barcelona and PSG, forced to upgrade his contract on an annual basis to keep his agent happy.
Many players in the past have rejected United. There is no reason why Haaland would not as well based on United's current form. There are more lucrative opportunities abroad. Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Barcelona to name a few.
In my opinion, United should go all-in for the Red Bull Salzburg striker. He is available and could enrich the squad. Yes, he is going to cost a hefty sum. That's just the price you pay after years of poor recruitment. Haaland previously worked with Ole. It is a no-brainer that the boss wants him back. The Red Devils need a finisher. There isn't a more promising one on the market.