Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘very close’ to Erling Haaland ahead of transfer battle

Man Utd: What could tempt Haaland to Old Trafford?

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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was ‘very close’ with Erling Haaland during their time at Molde, it has been claimed. The Borussia Dortmund striker is his compatriot’s top transfer target for the summer window. But signing him certainly seams a case of earlier said than done.

Manchester United are eager to win the race for Haaland’s signature this summer.

The Borussia Dortmund striker has been in fine form this season, scoring 31 goals in the Bundesliga and Champions League combined.

United want a new hitman amid uncertainty over Edinson Cavani’s long-term future, with the forward continuing to be linked with a move to Boca Juniors.

And, now, it’s emerged that Solskjaer and the Dortmund striker were ‘very close’ at Molde together.

Arilas Ould-Saada, chief football writer for Norwegian newspaper VG, told the Manchester Evening News: “They were very close.

“As a former striker, Solskjaer was in many ways a mentor for Erling, teaching him how to move in the box, how to finish, how to look for weaknesses in the opponents when waiting to come on from the bench.

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“I remember covering one of Erling’s breakthrough games for Molde in 2017, when he scored the winning goal against Viking. After the game, Solskjaer put his arm around his shoulder and had a long chat.

He later told me that he said ‘well done’ but focused on the chances Haaland had missed.

“In the same game, Erling was in the midst of a controversy as he celebrated his goal shushing the Viking fans (rivals of Haaland’s hometown club Bryne).

“While others criticised his attitude, Solskjaer defended him in public.”

Former Norway striker Jan-Aage Fjortoft also thinks Haaland enjoyed learning from Solskjaer given his status within the game.

“It was just natural that a great talent like Erling would move to Molde,” he said.

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“As many Norwegian talents had done before him.

“I think it was very inspiring for all talents to work closely with Ole Gunnar, because of what he had achieved as a player, but also because that success was based on hard work and great attitude.

“It was also no disadvantage that Ole Gunnar was one of the best finishers around and strikers like Erling could learn from his experience every day.”

United aren’t the only club in for Haaland this summer.

Chelsea are also eyeing a move for the Norway international, especially with Tammy Abraham now widely expected to leave Stamford Bridge behind.

Manchester City are in the hunt as well, even if Pep Guardiola has publicly attempted to downplay interest.

Real Madrid have Haaland on their radar, though Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe appears to be their priority.

And Barcelona can’t be discounted, even if the Catalan giants look like massive outsiders.

Meanwhile, Karren Brady recently opened up on Haaland – and expressed a belief any potential deal will require a huge financial commitment.

She wrote in her column for The Sun: “The fee for the 20-year-old blond giant and serial goalscorer is said to be £100-£150million — a sum only affordable to the wealthier aristocracy among clubs.

“The two envoys have so far talked to hard-up Barcelona and Real Madrid and include the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea among their targets.

“Erling may have liked to join Leeds, where he was born and where his father played for three years, but I don’t think they are in the running.

“And, make no mistake about it, money is the critical factor.

“Daddy Haaland and his Italian mate are looking for, it is reported, £25m each in agent fees.

“Should this or the transfer fee prove beyond the reach of clubs, then Erling will remain at Borussia Dortmund for a season more.

“Dortmund spotted a big earner by astute operation in the teen market.”

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