How Manchester United missed Bellingham and Haaland


By: Manu Tournoux

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed how close Manchester United came to signing Jude Bellingham and Erling Haaland when he was manager.

During Solskjaer’s time in charge of Manchester United, between December 2018 and November 2021, the Norwegian tried to recruit Bellingham from Birmingham City and Haaland from Molde and then Red Bull Salzburg respectively. But his advice went unheeded, both players ended up joining Borussia Dortmund and the rest is history.

He expressed his regrets during SkyBet’s Stick to Football podcast: ” Jude (Bellingham) was in the building. I was there, Sir Alex Ferguson was there, Bryan Robson and Eric Cantona were all there that day when he arrived at the club. We all spoke to him and he sold his performance as well as he could. He knew what he wanted – a certain number of first-team minutes. He was 17 at the time, and he was the most mature 17-year-old I’d ever met – he had it all planned out. »

A ridiculous price

Regarding Erling Haaland, he adds: “ I had him (Erling Haaland) at Molde for two seasons. The summer before I came here (to Manchester United), I called the club and said: ‘You have to sign this boy, he will be top class.’ It was June/July 2018, and they said no – they had enough player reports. Then I became caretaker manager (of United) and we sold Haaland to RB Salzburg. I immediately told the club to buy him while he had a release clause. We knew it at the time and no one else would have paid 20 million euros, which would have been a bargain. Despite his links with Alfie (Haaland), Manchester City and Leeds. »

“It was the club that decided not to embark on the adventure. We never made any offers or moves to sign him, until he started scoring for Salzburg. At that moment, Borussia Dortmund was there, Juventus was there, everyone was there. His release clause was still interesting: 60 million euros. He’s not just a big boy. He’s such a team player, and when going one-on-one with a goalie, he doesn’t think about his own stats. He passes if someone else passes and the goal is 100%. It’s a pearl. »

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