Sun. Oct 25th, 2020

Erling Haaland Is a Unique Talent – But Man Utd Should Not Spend January Pining for Him

3 min read

It did not take long Erling Haaland very long to open his scoring account for Borussia Dortmund – ​just three minutes to be exact. 

20 minutes later and Haaland had registered a debut hat-trick, the latest achievement for a player who looks like he was assembled in a laboratory out of various body parts of different legendary strikers. 

The pace of a peak Michael Owen, the rangy elegance of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and finishing ability akin to Glenn Murray at the peak of his powers, the fact that Dortmund managed to sign him for just €20m is nothing short of miraculous. Or, less romantically, the result of a horribly undervalued release placed into his contract by RB Salzburg. 

It all looked so bleak for BVB before the introduction of their new signing from the substitutes bench against Augsburg on Saturday. Marco Reus was looking worryingly out of sorts, missing a string of good chances and when a Marco Richter pot shot from 30 yards ended up flying past Roman Burki, Lucien Favre would have been wondering if it was going to be one of those days. 

Then in the 56th minute, Favre turned to Haaland – free-scoring, record-breaking, Manchester United-rejecting Haaland – and the game was turned on its head. 

Just three minutes after his introduction the Norwegian opened his BVB account with a trademark, sweeping finish into the bottom corner. Latching onto Jadon Sancho’s perfectly weighted through ball, I don’t think I’ve ever been more certain that a player was going to score and so it proved – with the ball racing past Tomas Koubek despite the Czech stopper’s excellent positioning. 

Erling Braut Haaland

Haaland’s second saw him finish off a superb team goal with the simplest finish, this particular strike proved that the 19-year-old is even capable of making a tap-in look good. 

He then completed his hat trick ten minutes from time with Reus this time the architect. Timing his run to perfection to break through Augsburg’s ludicrously high line, Haaland raced onto the Dortmund’s captain through ball before sliding it into the home side’s net.

It was 23 minutes of absolute magic with the youngster getting his new side out of jail on his debut – though surely it is not the last time that Haaland will save the day. 

Some United fans will have watched his performance this afternoon and felt envious, very envious indeed. ​Twitter was awash with what might have been type statements as the afternoon’s events unfolded, but failing to land Haaland in January really should be very low down on United’s worries list for now.

​With the club’s front three firing effectively of late, they focus must be on other inadequacies (specifically in defence and midfield) that need addressing in the upcoming transfer window, instead of pining over the young striker – extremely alluring as he may be.  

There will likely be other chances down the line to sign Haaland, possibly (hopefully for United fans) when the move makes more sense for both the player and the club.

Though one must treat such a precocious talent with caution, it is impossible to not get excited about what Haaland could go on to achieve in the next few years. He looks for all the world a unique, generational talent whose development will be a joy to watch over the next decade. 

Just prepare yourselves for him to be linked with a move to the Premier League every other week!

For more from Matt O’Connor-Simpson, follow him on Twitter!

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