BERLIN, Germany, May 11 – Erling Haaland’s astonishing goalscoring record made him one of the hottest properties in European football, but Manchester City won the race to snatch him from Borussia Dortmund.
The 21-year-old, son of former City midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland, rose to prominence in 2019 when he scored six Champions League goals in his first three games.
After scoring a hat-trick on his European debut for Red Bull Salzburg in September of the same year against Genk, he also scored against Liverpool and Napoli.
His 29 goals in 27 games for Salzburg sparked rumors of a reunion with his former manager at Molde, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was then at Manchester United.
But Dortmund’s track record of developing young talent and United’s refusal to insert a release clause in his contract led him to Germany instead.
The goals kept pouring in despite the rise to one of Europe’s top leagues.
Haaland netted a hat-trick on his debut as a substitute in the German Bundesliga, needing just 20 minutes to score three goals and seal a 5-3 victory at Augsburg.
“That’s why you signed me,” the Leeds-born striker told Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc.
With one match of his Dortmund career to play, Haaland has scored 85 times in 88 appearances.
However, his two-and-a-half years in the German top flight only won one trophy, when he scored twice in the German Cup final last year.
– Silverware –
City have now triggered a €60m (£51m, $63m) buyout clause.
A move to Manchester, where City are eyeing a fourth Premier League title in five seasons under Pep Guardiola, brings almost guaranteed silverware as long as the mighty Haaland stays fit and fires.
So far, injuries have been the only factor holding him back in his short career.
“He’s a human being, not a machine,” Dortmund coach Marco Rose said when a hip flexor problem limited Haaland’s appearances for club and country earlier in the season .
Without him, Dortmund were unable to challenge for the Bundesliga as Bayern Munich won a 10th consecutive title.
One of Haaland’s most stunning goalscoring feats was scoring nine goals in one game in Norway’s 12-0 win over Honduras at the 2019 Under-20 World Cup. .
But he will miss this year’s Senior World Cup – and the chance to showcase his fearsome skills on the world stage – as Norway finished third behind the Netherlands and Turkey in their qualifying group, with Haaland out for key matches.
A move to England comes with the compensation of playing in front of a global audience every week.
However, the British press will have their work cut out for detailed answers on the latest star name to play in the Premier League.
“The day I do an interview longer than a minute will be the day I quit football,” Haaland, the master of short answers, once joked.