Report: Erling Haaland Set for Manchester United Talks Amid Transfer Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2019

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - DECEMBER 10: Erling Braut Haaland of RB Salzburg inspects the pitch ahead of the UEFA Champions League group E match between RB Salzburg and Liverpool FC at Red Bull Arena on December 10, 2019 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Red Bull Salzburg's Erling Haaland and his representatives have reportedly flown to England to hold talks with Manchester United with a view to a possible transfer.

According to Aftenbladet (h/t Naveen Ullal of Sport Witness), the Norwegian forward travelled to Manchester from his homeland on Friday. Haaland's father, former Leeds United player Alf Inge, is said to be part of the party.

Oliver Kay of The Athletic relayed the report, which suggests a move to the Red Devils may be moving closer to a deal for the 19-year-old:

"United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is managed by agent Jim Solbakken, and the latter also travelled with Haaland to England," Ullal said. "It's claimed Solbakken is involved in helping United sign the player."

Speaking at his press conference on Friday, Solskjaer played down the speculation that Haaland was on his way to Manchester:

James Robson @jamesrobsonES

Solskjaer claims Haaland is on a Christmas holiday, rather than signing for United. Why is he coming to Manchester airport then? “You can’t fly anywhere from Stavanger” #mufc

The Evening Standard did its own investigating into the speculation, tracking a flight from Sola: 

Standard Sport @standardsport

It's not even January 1 and we are already tracking flights. The 9.45am flight from Sola to Manchester reportedly has Erling Haaland and father on board. Latest: https://t.co/jqyxkTcvS2 https://t.co/XcC5rHRJtf

Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News and former Norway forward Jan Aage Fjortoft provided further updates:

Jan Aage Fjortoft 🏳️‍🌈 🇳🇴 @JanAageFjortoft

@samuelluckhurst Last seen in Copenhagen. And Local paper who had the original “sighting” now says he is going for a holiday

Haaland is considered one of the most exciting prospects in European football, and as a result, he has been linked with some huge clubs. In addition to the Red Devils, it's been confirmed that Bundesliga sides RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund have already held talks with the Norway international.

Following United's win over Colchester United in the Carabao Cup quarter-final on Wednesday, Solskjaer said the teenager is a player he admires, per Fjortoft:

Jan Aage Fjortoft 🏳️‍🌈 🇳🇴 @JanAageFjortoft

feelings? What did you mean by that? Solskjær then talked about “how important it is to do that”....and so on. Conclusion: Of course Ole wants Haaland. Ole has been vital for his career. Don’t think he is sure he will get him. Having said that: Sure Solskjær could have

Given Salzburg have finished their domestic action for the winter break, it shouldn't be a shock that transfer speculation is beginning to ramp up. It was announced on Thursday that Liverpool have concluded a deal for midfielder Takumi Minamino.

But in an impressive Salzburg outfit, it's Haaland who has generated the most buzz, with his ruthless finishing at the point of the attack giving them an edge in the UEFA Champions League this season. As Squawka Football highlighted, his goalscoring record in Europe is remarkable:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Erling Håland has failed to score in a Champions League game for the first time in his career. ⚽️⚽️⚽️ vs. Genk ⚽️ vs. Liverpool ⚽️⚽️ vs. Napoli ⚽️ vs. Napoli ⚽️ vs. Genk ✖️ vs. Liverpool EIGHT goals in your first six isn't bad, though. 😉 https://t.co/AZv7OedTTd

Whichever club lands Haaland will believe they have secured a major coup because of the Norwegian's sky-high potential. This season, he's showcased an increased maturity and improvements in his all-round game. The manner in which he's been able to handle the spotlight of the Champions League has been impressive, too, with Haaland's temperament only likely to intensify interest in him.

United sold Romelu Lukaku in the summer and didn't draft in a natural centre-forward to fill the void in the squad. Haaland would represent an excellent long-term replacement.