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Dimitar Berbatov Says Man United Don't Need a Striker, Talks Erling Haaland

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2019

Salzburg's Erling Braut Haaland, left, celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Champions League Group E soccer match between FC Red Bull Salzburg and Napoli in Salzburg, Austria, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)
Kerstin Joensson/Associated Press

Former Manchester United player Dimitar Berbatov has said the Red Devils don't need a new striker after the club were linked with a move for Red Bull Salzburg's Erling Haaland.

According to James Robson of the Evening Standard, Berbatov said manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should keep faith with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, and should pass on recruiting Haaland in January:

"I don't think United need to sign a striker in January as they have decent options up front already.

"I want Marcus Rashford to get better and better, I'm a big admirer of Anthony Martial and am keen to see Mason Greenwood get more time on the pitch.

"I think United have the talent there and signing a new striker, whether it's an emerging talent like Haaland or the more experienced Mario Mandzukic, could discourage their young players."

Salzburg's Norwegian forward Erling Haaland (L) and Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil Van Dilk vie for the ball during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between RB Salzburg and Liverpool FC on December 10, 2019 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo
JOE KLAMAR/Getty Images

Haaland has exploded as one of Europe's best young strikers this season after impressing in the UEFA Champions League for the Austrians.

The 19-year-old has netted 28 goals this term, including eight in Europe's top competition.

Berbatov added Haaland might struggle to step up to the pressure-cooker atmosphere of Old Trafford after joining Salzburg only 11 months ago.

The youngster previously played for Solskjaer at Molde, giving the United manager a unique insight into the burgeoning talent.

According to Chris Wheeler for MailOnline, Solskjaer reportedly met Haaland on Friday, as he attempts to convince the Leeds-born forward his future lies with United.

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - DECEMBER 10: Erling Braut Haaland of Salzburg reacts during the Group E UEFA Champions  League match between Red Bull Salzburg and Liverpool FC at Red Bull Arena on December 10, 2019 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by Michael Molzar/SEPA.
Michael Molzar/Getty Images

The player is the son of former Manchester City and Leeds United defender, Alf-Inge Haaland, and the former Norway international said to VG (h/t Wheeler): "I hope you understand that I cannot comment on all the rumours that are going on at the moment."

Fabrizio Romano and Marcus Christenson of The Guardian reported the striker has a release clause of around £21.2 million, and Bundesliga sides Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig are trying to lure the youngster to Germany. Haaland is represented by Mino Raiola, who is also Paul Pogba's agent.

United's forwards are in good form, but scoring has been an issue for the Red Devils during the opening of the campaign.

Solskjaer has lacked a No. 9 after selling Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan, and Alexis Sanchez's loan switch to Inter has reduced United's forward options.

United's relationship with Raiola could be key, but Solskjaer's connections to the player might be the deciding factor on any potential transfer.