Manchester United have set their main transfer target for 2021: Erling Haaland.
According to The MEN, new director of football John Murtough and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are both in agreement that a new striker is required and that the man they want is the Borussia Dortmund player.
Haaland only joined Dortmund last January and has a release clause of €75 million that doesn’t kick in until June 2022.
But the buzzards – in the form of United, Manchester City and Real Madrid – are circling this summer, hoping that an offer significantly in excess of that amount will persuade Dortmund to release him sooner. Dortmund have fanned the flames of that speculation by admitting that they may have to sell either Haaland or Jadon Sancho to balance the books this summer.
‘The Manchester Evening News understands United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and football director John Murtough mutually agree Haaland, 20, is the ideal long-term replacement for Romelu Lukaku, having tried to sign Haaland from Red Bull Salzburg last season,’ The MEN reports.
‘United are also in the market for a new centre-back but may only be able to invest a significant sum on one area of their squad in the close season and they have mustered four goals in their last six games.
‘Haaland is also believed to be demanding a weekly salary of £350,000 and Manchester City are keen as Sergio Aguero is expected to leave in the summer.’
‘United are unsure whether to extend Edinson Cavani’s contract amid frustration over his fitness issues.
‘United were quick to level the blame for the collapse of a €20m move for Haaland last season at his agent, Mino Raiola.
‘Despite the Raiola factor, United believe Solskjaer’s relationship with Haaland, whom he managed at Molde, and the Norwegian’s talent override the issue of dealing with an agent who has repeatedly attempted to engineer a transfer for Paul Pogba away from United.’
United’s success in signing the young star will undoubtedly depend on that relationshiop with Solskjaer. It was not enough to steer him to Old Trafford last time, but with Real Madrid dithering over whether to put their efforts into Haaland or Kylian Mbappe (see our article here on the latest news from Spain), it might this time become a straight fight between United and City, and that is one that the Red Devils will feel they have a better chance of winning.