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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Says He Likes Erling Haaland Amid Transfer Rumours

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 19, 2019

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.Media /Getty Images)
Michael Molzar/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has spoken about his admiration of Red Bull Salzburg striker Erling Haaland amid speculation the youngster could move to Old Trafford in January.

Haaland, 19, joined Salzburg in January 2019 and has captured the attention of some of Europe's biggest clubs, with Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig reportedly the other leading contenders for his signature.

Former Norway international Solskjaer, 46, spoke to Viasport (h/t Goal's James Westwood) after United beat Colchester United 3-0 on Wednesday to advance to the Carabao Cup semi-finals:

"He is a player I like. We are looking for good players all the time.

"Erling has had a good development, so he has to develop further wherever he decides. I don't need to talk so much about him, but we as a team always look for players who can complement the others we have, and then we see what we end up with."

Those comments came a few days after Solskjaer spoke at a press conference and said fellow Norwegian Haaland "knows what he's going to do" regarding his next career move, via the Manchester Evening News:

Man United News @ManUtdMEN

🗣️ "He knows what he wants to do and he knows what he's going to do. "👀 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Erling Haaland has made a decision on his future. ... Where do you think he will end up? 🤔⬇️ #MUNEVE | #MUFC https://t.co/hO6AouZb1T

A transfer to Salzburg's sister club, Leipzig, makes sense from a business standpoint considering their shared links to energy drink company Red Bull.

Dortmund have been the most consistent Bundesliga title challengers to evergreen Bayern Munich in the past decade, and they could offer Haaland the platform to join a "bigger" club later in his career.

The teenager has scored 28 times in 22 games across all competitions this season—along with seven assists. That record includes eight goals in six UEFA Champions League outings, netting once against European titleholders Liverpool and grabbing three goals in two clashes against Napoli.

Former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise heaped praise on his young compatriot during an appearance on beIN Sports, and he suggested Haaland is ready to start for a club like United:

beIN SPORTS @beINSPORTS_EN

"If he goes to United then he's going there to be a part of the first team squad." @JARiiseOfficial says Erling Braut Haaland is mentally and physically ready to play for #MUFC NOW rather than join another league. #beINPL #MUNEVE https://t.co/x5DxcBI4jK

Solskjaer has already signed Haaland once during his career and brought the player to Molde from Bryne in February 2017. They worked together for a little more than 18 months before the manager was called back to Old Trafford in December 2018, initially as a caretaker replacement for Jose Mourinho.

Marcus Rashford, 22, and Anthony Martial, 24, are the current main striking options at Old Trafford, while United also have a superb talent emerging in 18-year-old Mason Greenwood (nine goals in 22 games this term).

Football writer Sam Pilger recently told Love Sport Radio that United were "increasingly confident" they'll secure a deal to sign Haaland:

Love Sport Radio @lovesportradio

🇳🇴 @sampilger thinks that it's looking very promising in regard to Erling Haaland's potential move to Manchester United. #MUFC 📻 Tune in - Now on National DAB 📲 Listen - https://t.co/XWhRQgRLH7 https://t.co/v8bUntfMEU

The Red Devils failed to sign a replacement striker after they sold Romelu Lukaku and loaned Alexis Sanchez to Inter Milan in the summer, though Rashford has come into good form with 14 goals in 23 games this term.

His spot as the central striker would come under serious threat if United signed 6'4" Haaland, who could face a reunion with Solskjaer in the near future.  

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