April 21, 2021

Man Utd

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Borussia Dortmund dealt fresh Erling Haaland blow amid Man Utd transfer talk

3 min read

Winning ugly is the hallmark of champions and whilst Manchester United are several steps behind their nearest rivals, it’s a trait that they are developing more and more.

Sunday night’s hard-fought 2-1 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion will please and concern Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Discontent for the sluggish and languid first-half performance but delight at the resilience of his side to find a way to win.

Equally as encouraging was the movement from Mason Greenwood to head home the winner, almost a carbon copy of Edinson Cavani’s poaching header against Southampton which sparked a two-goal comeback at St Mary’s in November last year.

There were important goals for an out-of-form forward line. For Greenwood, it was only his third in 27 matches this season. Marcus Rashford grabbed the equaliser, which was his first in six outings. Bruno Fernandes has registered one goal and one assist in his last eight whilst Cavani was goal-less in four.

Last season, Manchester United excelled at sharing the goal-scoring burden. Anthony Martial registered a career-best 21 goals, whilst Bruno Fernandes, Greenwood and Fernandes all chipped in with double figures.

That is one of the many reasons that Solskjaer and technical director John Murtough have pinpointed Erling Haaland as their long-term striker, MEN Sport understands.

The Borussia Dortmund striker is being courted across Europe, not least in Manchester, ahead of a potential blockbuster summer transfer. It’s a story that is filled with subplots and drama already, particularly surrounding ‘super agent’ Mino Raiola.

Whilst United took a stride forward on the field, they may have also been handed a boost in the chase for Haaland’s signature as Borussia Dortmund crashed to a 2-1 defeat 24 hours previous.

The significance of that result is the loss came against Champions League rivals Eintracht Frankfurt, who occupy fourth place in the Bundesliga and led Dortmund by four points ahead of kick-off.

The gap is now at seven points, making Thursday night Europa League action a more likely prospect than the glitz and glamour of Champions League football, the stage that all world stars demand to showcase their talents on.

Even Dortmund themselves have admitted missing out on Europe’s elite club competition could have a huge impact on their ability to keep Haaland this summer.

Sporting Director Michael Zorc said last month: “I have never seen someone like him. We can search Europe-wide.

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“If he ever left us somewhere, there would only be a handful of clubs, but we’ll try to keep him as long as possible for sporting reasons.

“We don’t want to play in the Europa League on Thursdays. We want to give our calling card in the Champions League.”

Dortmund, of course, remain in the Champions League and will qualify automatically if they can win the competition. Manchester City and either Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain stand in their way of reaching the final, arguably the three toughest sides in Europe.

Given Haaland’s record in the Champions League too, it’s hard to see Raiola accepting his client playing Thursday night Europa League football with the transfer interest surrounding the 20-year-old.

As a result, Manchester United will be hoping this development could help towards bridging the gap to Manchester City by acquiring Europe’s hottest talent.

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