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Salzburg Director: It's 'Too Fast' for Erling Haaland Transfer Amid Exit Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2019

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Erling Haaland of Salzburg celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League match between RB Salzburg and KRC Genk at Red Bull Arena on September 17, 2019 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by David Geieregger/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)
David Geieregger/Getty Images

Red Bull Salzburg director Christoph Freund believes January would be "too fast" for Erling Haaland to leave the club amid continued speculation regarding the player's future.

Earlier in the week, Freund confirmed the 19-year-old sensation had already been in talks with both Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig about a possible switch.

According to Fabrizio Romano and Marcus Christenson of the Guardian, Haaland has a release clause of around £21.2 million in his contract; the player is also said to be attracting interest from the likes of Manchester United and Juventus.

Freund told Alex Richards of the Daily Mirror he feels the Norwegian would be better staying put for the time being: "It's too fast for Erling. ... Erling has only been here five months in the team, sure he's outstanding...but, it's football."

Per Ronan Murphy of Goal, Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann confirmed on Friday there have been discussions between the club and Haaland:

Ronan Murphy @swearimnotpaul

RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann confirms his meeting with Red Bull Salzburg's Erling Braut Haaland: "I tried to explain to him in English my idea of football. I consider it a good conversation, but there is nothing new to announce here." #RBL #RBS #BVB

Haaland has become a big name among football supporters this season, as he's thrived for the Austrian club in the UEFA Champions League, netting eight goals in the group stages. 

As part of BT Sport's coverage, former England strikers Michael Owen and Peter Crouch looked back at some of the teenager's best moments in the competition:

Salzburg did not progress into the knockout stages though, with Tuesday's 2-0 loss to Liverpool consigning them to the UEFA Europa League.

The reputation of Haaland and a number of other Salzburg players have been enhanced nevertheless. The club's star midfielder Takumi Minamino is reportedly on the brink of making a move to Liverpool in the January transfer window.

Freund said he's delighted the club is building a reputation as the home of some of European football's rising stars:

"I think it makes it easier [to sign players] for the future, if you have a lot of good examples, to bring a player here. But sure this is a big challenge because the standard now from the team is more than four or five years ago.

"For example, five months ago, nine players leave us. Seven players normally in the starting XI, so it's a really big change for us. And, in the end, it was good that we prepared in winter...signing Antoine Bernede from Paris Saint-Germain and Haaland."

Rory Smith of the New York Times suggested the displays of Haaland have seen other stars fly under the radar at Salzburg:

Rory Smith @RorySmith

Someone will pay a king’s ransom for Erling Haaland, and with good reason, but I bet Red Bull Salzburg are quite pleased that he’s distracting everyone from how good Minamino and Hwang are.

Given his record in the Champions League, it would be easy to assume the striker is ready to make another step up in his career. In addition to his eight goals in Europe, he's grabbed 16 goals in 14 appearances in the Austrian top flight.

If he was to stay at Salzburg, it's easy to see his development continuing with that in mind. However, when clubs of the calibre of those aforementioned come calling, it must be difficult to say no.