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14th Jun 2022

Why Ed Woodward pulled the plug on Man United’s Erling Haaland move

Simon Lloyd

earling haaland man united

Woodward decided against United’s move to Haaland.

Erling Haaland was strongly linked with a move to Manchester United prior to joining Borussia Dortmund in January 2020. Were it not for Ed Woodward, he may have sealed a switch to Old Trafford instead of the Bundesliga club.

Haaland had left Molde FK to join Red Bull Salzburg in the summer of 2019. His prolific goalscoring in the Champions League group stages quickly turned heads at some of the continent’s top clubs, and it soon became clear he would be leaving Austria a matter of months after his arrival.

Solskjaer was keen to be reunited with Haaland at United.

United seemed well placed to strike a deal, with then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer working with Haaland during his time as Molde boss.

According to ESPN, Solskjaer had met Haaland in December 2019, believing he had reached an agreement with the Leeds-born striker to join him in Manchester the following month.

However, reluctant to pay the agent fees attached to the deal and deterred by the eagerness of Haaland’s camp to add a release clause, Woodward pulled the plug on a €20m deal.

Haaland joined Dortmund, where his free-scoring run continued.

Solskjaer was ‘frustrated’ at Man United’s failure to sign Haaland.

The same report claimed Solskjaer was left frustrated by the failure to land the striker, believing a move still made financial and sporting sense for United.

Although he harboured hopes that a deal for Haaland could be resurrected in the future, Solskjaer left United in November 2021 after a poor run of results.

Woodward left his position as United’s executive vice-chairman in February 2022 after announcing his intention to step down in the fallout from the collapse of the European Super League.

By that point, Haaland was being strongly linked with a move to Manchester City, who his father, Alf-Inge Haaland, played for towards the end of his career.

Sure enough, at the end of the 2021/22 season – just after Pep Guardiola’s side had retained their Premier League title – it was announced that City had agreed on a deal with Borussia Dortmund to take him to the Etihad.

According to reports, Haaland’s contract at City also contained a release clause which would only become active in the third year of his contract.

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