Manchester United’s hopes of winning the race for No 1 January target Erling Haaland have suffered a setback after the striker travelled to Germany for talks with one of the country’s premier clubs.
The 19-year-old has taken the Champions League by storm on his debut in the competition and his eight goals so far is bettered only by Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.
Haaland, son of former Leeds and Manchester City midfielder Alf-Inge, has scored 28 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions this term and has five hat-tricks to his name, including one on his Champions League debut.
That has, understandably, led to him being linked with a number of clubs and United stepped up their hunt in the striker by dispatching their chief scout to watch him in action on Tuesday night against Liverpool.
And while reports earlier this week claimed United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had been given support from the club’s money men to sign the teenager in January, German newspaper Ruhr Nachrichten, now claims it is Borussia Dortmund who are closest to his signature, having already held transfer talks with the player.
The report claims Haaland was in Dortmund on Wednesday for talks over a prospective January move to the Westfallonstadion, with the Bundesliga giants move than willing to meet the reported €20m (£17m) exit clause that exists in his contract.
And while Solskjaer has a good rapport with the striker having coached him at Molde, the report claims there is a growing belief that Haaland will in fact, move to the Bundesliga instead.
The striker opened up on his future earlier this week when he admitted he was trying to cast aside talk of a January move, saying: “I’m just focused on my job: playing football. I try to enjoy what I do every day, and go in with a clear mindset and enjoy the moment right now.
“My focus now is on Salzburg and me as a player. It is not hard at all. I am enjoying every day playing football.
“My father was a former player so he has been helping me but I also have a lot of friends who also help me in these situations.
“Doing what I am doing every week it is not easy but that’s what I try to do. My father has been helping a lot.
“This is the biggest game [v Liverpool] of my career so far. Matches like this are what you dream of so I am enjoying it. I’m living the dream.”