Erling Haaland, the 19-year-old Norwegian star for Austrian football club Red Bull Salzburg, has officially moved to Borussia Dortmund. And with that, Man United missed a signing it has hinted at for months but it doesn’t really matter.
Two weeks ago, reports that Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer met with Haaland’s representatives in Austria circulated. It prompted Solskjaer to respond to the rumors, commenting that Haaland “knows what he wants to do and he knows what he’s gonna do.”
Many Man United fans took the comment as Haaland is coming to Man United upon the opening of the January transfer window.
Haaland’s decision to join Dortmund is a big blow for Man United and especially Solskjaer, who worked with the Norwegian striker during his tenure at Molde FC in Norway.
In fact, Haaland played for Solskjaer up until July 2018, less than a year and a half ago.
With Mason Greenwood’s recent form and Marcus Rashford’s consistent performances as the first pick striker for Man United, the club has a bigger priority to fix up its midfield.
Man United was never going to secure many high-profile signings in a narrow January transfer window. If Haaland came to United, there is a strong possibility that it would have been the club’s only January signing.
But, with Haaland now out of the picture, Man United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now have the opportunity to strengthen the team’s midfield.
For the majority of the second half of 2019, primarily due to Pogba’s injury, Scott McTominay and Fred were Solskjaer’s first picks in his 4-2-3-1 system. McTominay and Fred played as two holding midfielders with Andreas Pereira, Juan Mata, or Lingard as the No. 10.
When Paul Pogba is back fit, he could potentially play in the central attacking midfield role with support from McTominay and Fred. Still, it lacks a strong second choice CAM and a central defensive midfielder (CDM) in case either McTominay or Fred carries an injury.
When the two CDMs carried a knock, Pogba often filled the role of a CDM. That made United slower and more defensive than it already is with no creativity in the final third.
Mata, Pereira, and Lingard have struggled to find a consistent form in recent months and have under-performed against other number 10s from top clubs like Tottenham’s Dele Ali, City’s David Silva, and Kevin De Bruyne.
Erling Haaland could have strengthened Man United’s attacking three by competing against Marcus Rashford for the first choice striker position.
However, as said by pundits like Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher, United’s front three are “as good as City or Liverpool’s,” and the real weakness in the team is in the midfield.
Greenwood has also had a better start to his Man United career than Alexis Sanchez and is set to become the highest scoring teenager in Europe by surpassing Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.
Last modified: January 22, 2020 11:40 PM UTC