Manchester United still regret their failure to sign Erling Haaland for just £4m when he was a teenager with one observer slamming the club over what he feels might just be the “biggest transfer blunder of all time”.
Haaland moved to Manchester City in last summer for a fee of £51m after they met the release clause in his contract at Borussia Dortmund. Having plundered 86 goals in 89 appearances for BVB, City moved to bring the Norwegian to City in a move aimed at helping the club finally win the Champions League. And it was mission accomplished in his very first season as Haaland scorched his way to an incredible 52 goals in 53 appearances in all competitions.
Admitting he wants a repeat at City in his second season, City are 100% in all competitions this season, having started their season with seven wins from seven in all competitions.
And picking up where he left off last season, Haaland already has eight goals in nine games, taking his overall tally at the Etihad to a stupid 60 goals in 62 games.
Indeed, few players in the world game can match those numbers, making the 23-year-old – along with Kylian Mbappe and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia – the heirs to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s throne as the game’s greatest players.
Seeing Haaland put in those sort of numbers across the city with Pep Guardiola’s side must be a difficult pill for all associated with Manchester United to swallow.
Indeed, they have tried and failed to sign Haaland twice over, missing out on him both prior to his move to Borussia Dortmund but even earlier when Haaland was still just a teenager.
Man Utd missing Haaland signing comes in for stinging criticism
The man who was the most determined to sign Haaland for United was former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He made extensive efforts to sign Haaland in December 2019 when it was apparent he was set to leave Red Bull Salzburg.
With his clause set at just €20m, the move for the then 19-year-old would have ticked plenty of boxes for the Red Devils in attack.
Since then, United have fumbled about trying to find the answer in attack, with Anthony Martial failing to impress and last season’s loan signing Wout Weghorst soon sent on his way.
The club have this summer shelled out a whopping £72m on Danish striker Rasmus Hojlund, who has earned comparisons to Haaland for his bustling style.
However, with the 20-year-old Dane still largely unproved, United have been forced to spend big on his potential as much as anything.
Ultimately, though, their failure to land Haaland continues to haunt the Red Devils.
Now it has emerged that Solskjaer also tried to sign Haaland for United when prior to the player’s move to Austria back in 2018.
Only 18 at the time, Haaland could have been signed back then for a mere £4m.
The one that got away for Man Utd
Very much the one that got away, Solskjaer’s failure to land him on two occasions has been branded by journalist Dean Jones as the ‘biggest transfer fail of all time’.
“Maybe it’s one of the biggest transfer fails of all time, but they did give it a go,” Jones told Givemesport. “Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did go out to Norway with the intention to get that deal done, but he came back without him and ever since it feels like United have struggled to live up to that moment.
“It might be the worst journey back ever made from trying to sign a player that one, but they have got Rasmus Hojlund now so at least his name sounds a little bit like him! Now they need to start scoring goals like him too!”
Hojlund has started his United career off well, and has one goal to his name from four appearances so far.