Manchester City have taken a small victory in their local rivalry with Manchester United after it was confirmed that Kjetil Haug had signed for the Etihad outfit this week.
Haug has earned comparisons to ex-United and City No. 1 Peter Schmeichel in recent months, apparently sharing more than just a Scandinavian background with the Old Trafford legend.
Per Sky Sports' Kent Hedlundh, the prodigy spoke to Norwegian television station TV2 in October, addressing the comparisons between him and Schmeichel:
I'll be careful not to say too much about the similarities between us, but there are some. I have a physical style to my play as did Schmeichel. But there is obviously a long way to go before I get on his level.
According to the Daily Star's Colin Harvey, the Sarpsborg stopper's father Cato has confirmed the move, adding that interest from both Old Trafford and the Emirates Stadium ultimately went ignored, saying:
"I can confirm that he will go to Manchester City this summer. I can’t say anymore right now."
Schmeichel's career is more famed for the success he saw during the prolific 1990s era of Manchester United's history, but the keeper would later go on to finish his career as a Citizen.
Starlet Haug was alleged by 101GreatGoals.com back in October to have been a target for both halves of the Manchester rivalry:
Haug's decision is especially contentious given that, when speaking to Norwegian television station TV2 (h/t Sky Sports) following his trial at Old Trafford, the 15-year-old admitted that he was a fan of the club:
We also had lunch with several other United players and David Moyes. Moyes sat down next to me. It was very fun.
It was very special to be on trial at United since I am supporter myself. United is in that respect very well received when I decide on my future. But that they are closest to my heart does not mean anything.
Harvey also quotes Sarpsborg's official club website confirming the move:
Kjetil Haug has signed an agreement with Manchester City. This has so far not been referred on the club website and there has been very limited with comments from the club/player.
Sarpsborg 08 wishes to verify the information referred to in the media related to two points. 1: Kjetil Haug has signed an agreement with Manchester City FC. 2: Kjetil Haug is scheduled to travel to England about 1/7/2014.
This signing comes just several weeks after Manuel Pellegrini's side completed the signature of Brahim Abdelkader, per Pete Jenson of the Independent, a player earning the moniker of "the new Lionel Messi."
Considering the wealth of talent already busting to emerge from City's youth ranks, it's merely another fine addition to what's fast emerging as another English haven for Europe's top prodigies.
However, one has to question what chances a youngster will see opening up before them at a place like City, where recent years have seen the club produce very little in terms of homegrown talent.
Technically, while "homegrown" isn't precisely what the likes of Haug and Abdelkader are, the trend of spending considerable sums on players entering the latter stages of their development is a growing one, and one that City are becoming more and more well-versed in.
Schmeichel's Eastlands input was only as good as a single season in the 2002/03 campaign, but the Citizens will be hoping for a far more extensive contribution from their latest Norwegian recruit.
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