Erling Haaland: All you need to know about the striker
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Manchester United aren’t done yet. Despite signing Cristiano Ronaldo, and assembling a squad to be feared across the world, they still want to bring Erling Haaland to the club next summer. And their decision to give the Portugal international the No 7 shirt won’t stand in the way of the Norway international getting his favourite shirt number.
Manchester United are well-stocked for attacking talent at present.
Ronaldo is back, with the Portugal international expected to lead the line under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
They also have Mason Greenwood ticking along nicely, with the 19-year-old scoring in all three of his Premier League appearances so far this term.
There’s Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani, too.
And when Marcus Rashford returns from shoulder surgery, he’ll look to do his utmost to nail down a starting spot.
But while United have assembled this ridiculous squad full of attacking players, they’re not intending to rest on their laurels.
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Haaland is their main target for next summer and, given his goalscoring record, that’s certainly understandable.
The Norwegian is, simply put, a juggernaut. A bombastic, combative striker capable of the sublime.
For Dortmund, he’s scored three in three this term – after bagging 27 from 28 Bundesliga appearances last season.
Before that, at Red Bull Salzburg, he found the net 16 times from 14 Austrian Bundesliga matches before jumping ship to the Westfalenstadion.
And if he moves to United, they can give him the No 30 shirt.
While he currently wears No 9 for Dortmund, it’s his old jersey he’s favoured throughout his career.
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Haaland would, in many ways, be a great No 7 for United. Certainly, he’s got the talent of previous occupiers Ronaldo, David Beckham, Eric Cantona and George Best.
But that number belongs to Ronaldo. And nobody will be getting it off him until the day he decides to leave Old Trafford for a second time.
At present, the No 9 is donned by Anthony Martial.
But Haaland has always loved the No 30, sporting it at Salzburg and for Molde beforehand.
He wore it across all levels for Molde and, when he moved to Austria, then decided to stick with it.
And, now, the number is vacant at United following Nathan Bishop’s temporary move away from the club.
Haaland has an even better reason to stick with No 30 at the Theatre of Dreams due to Lionel Messi, who now wears it for Paris Saint-Germain.
And whether United are able to achieve their dream of bringing the 21-year-old to the club next summer remains to be seen.
Speaking earlier this year, Solskjaer waxed lyrical over his compatriot.
“It is clear that Erling is going to have a fantastic career,” Solskjaer told VG in February 2021. “I follow Erling. I have always said that. Was it 18 months we had together or something like that?
“Almost two years, perhaps. A fantastic time. He will surely have a super career both for Norway and his club. He is doing incredibly well for Dortmund.
“We will see where he ends up. As a Norwegian and someone who has worked with him, it is of course great that he is doing so well.
“We will do our best to become a better team and he will do his best to be a better player, but where will he end up? I do not want to say anything apart from wishing him all the best. The choice he makes is up to him.
“I reckon Erling remembers when we sat at Lubbenes [Molde’s training ground] the day before the Brann game. I feel like that was an important day for Molde, for him and for our relationship.
“He had a very bad spell before that. I am sure he remembers that.
“It is a great pleasure following him. He will have a long, long, long career that is going to surpass most of what any Norwegian player has done.”
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