Erling Haaland will one day play in the Premier League, according to compatriot Jan Aage Fjortoft, as a new reason emerged over the striker’s decision to join Borussia Dortmund ahead of Manchester United.
After months of speculation linking the former RB Salzburg striker with a move to Old Trafford, Borussia Dortmund announced the capture of the 19-year-old at the back end of December in one of the signings of the season.
The Norwegian has been in blistering form this season, having scored 28 goals in 22 games – including five hat-tricks – but has declared that he had little doubt that moving to the Bundesliga was the right career choice.
And that looks to have been proven the right decision, with Haaland making a sensational start to life in the Bundesliga with a ridiculous seven goals from his first three appearances for Die Schwarzgelben.
Now Dortmund director Michael Zorc has revealed for the first time how his side managed to convince Haaland to reject a move to Old Trafford in favour of moving to the Westfallonstadion.
Admitting they simply showed him a video of Dortmund’s famous ‘Yellow Wall’ – the towering stand behind the goal that houses their home supporters, Zorc explained to Sport Bild: “He seemed to like it!
“We had to reach high to sign Erling and it’s no secret that other well-known clubs were working hard to get him.
“I was like a little boy (when he spoke with Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola on Christmas Eve to confirm the deal).
“This combination of robustness, quality of finishing, good technique and his speed makes Erling special. In our first conversations there was already a positive atmosphere and we both felt good. Erling and BVB – it fits 100 percent.
“[He also has a] tremendous personality and that suits Borussia Dortmund, our stadium and our fans. That is what defines our club and is exactly what Erling was looking for. Such an atmosphere inspires him – he explodes on the pitch.
“Nevertheless, we will ensure that expectations do not rise immeasurably.”
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tried to put a brave face on the transfer snub with the Red Devils eventually opting to bring in former Watford striker Odion Ighalo in a surprise move on transfer deadline day.
Nonetheless, there remains hope for United that Haaland will one day make the move to the Premier League, with Norwegian TV pundit Fjortoft explaining why a move to the Bundesliga was exactly the right move for the 19-year-old to make at this fledgling stage of his career.
Haaland to make future Premier League move
“Alfie Haaland (his father) always said we should think of the difference between a club wanting a player and needing a player,” Fjortoft told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“What I like about Team Haaland is they have always taken the development of the player first. He is at the club he should be, where he can develop.
“Do I think he will play in England one day? Of course he will. He was born in England, but at this time Dortmund is the best place for him to be.”
Dortmund’s reputation for giving opportunities to young players is well documented, but Fjortoft believes they should be respected as one of Europe’s biggest clubs.
“You always define big clubs, it is not like Dortmund is a development club,” he added.
“They get [attendances of] 81,000 every week, they are in the Champions League – which some clubs aren’t at the moment – and they are used to developing players into great players.
“He can improve and he should improve, that is why he went to Salzburg not Juventus because they have a great way to educate young players.
“They could have gone to Manchester United this time or Juventus but he chose Dortmund. A 19-year-old waking up after a hat-trick on his debut, it is great to wake up in Dortmund, not a Manchester, not a Turin.
“It is good for the progress of his career.”
Haaland’s stunning start to life at BVB has astonished many observers and few more so that Fjortoft, given his countryman’s eight goals so far (seven in the Bundesliga) coming at a strike-rate of a goal every 22 minutes.
“I don’t think there is any chance you could imagine him doing that,” former Middlesbrough and Sheffield United striker Fjortoft added.
“He is scoring more or less every chance he has got. He has just been brilliant and is one of the greatest prospects we have in football.
“Let’s not forget he is 19. I always compare a football career with education. You try to go to the best high school and then college. Now he is at the best college he could be.”
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