Speculation over the future of Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland is set to rumble on – either side of the delayed Euro 2020 championship this summer.
The 20-year-old is one of the hottest properties in world football, having compiled a simply staggering goalscoring record since moving to Germany in January 2020.
Indeed, the Norway striker has racked up 53 goals in 56 games all-told for the Bundesliga side – who have a history of selling up when in this position.
Haaland is very much on the radar of elite European clubs.
Manchester United have already identified him as a priority target in striking terms, but any pursuit of the Dortmund goal-getter is almost certain to be met with huge competition from the likes of Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
It’s only as recently as Easter that representatives of Haaland – including super agent Mino Raiola – were spotted in Spain ahead of proposed transfer talks with the El Clasico rivals.
Cue the intense speculation.
For a short while, the pre-amble to yet another high-profile transfer saga faded into the backdrop somewhat in the midst of universal backlash to the now-shelved European Super League (ESL) breakaway proposals.
Of course, the repercussions of United’s involvement in those reform plans continue to be felt at Old Trafford.
But there does, however, remain one-eye on the summer transfer window as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to bridge the on-field gap between his side and Premier League champions-elect Manchester City.
Regardless of a likely nine-figure fee, signing Haaland would go a long way to doing exactly that.
Comments made by Raiola and key figures responsible for transfers at Dortmund have, at face value, poured cold water on the prospect of Haaland arriving on these shores, let alone to United. But considering the origin of those statements, perhaps they are best left ignored.
In his role as Haaland’s agent, Raiola is naturally set to prioritise the best deal for his client and himself, in terms of not only the financial aspect, but where best lies his prospects of European dominance – in the shape of silverware and, subsequently, future Ballon d’Or recognition.
The message from Dortmund is simple; they do not want to sell.
But where have we heard that before?
A similar stance was taken when Michael Zorc, sporting director at the Bundesliga club, was questioned about the future of Poland’s star striker Robert Lewandowki in 2013. The result? A transfer to Bayern Munich.
On the back of Germany’s World Cup win in 2014, reports suggesting defender Mats Hummels was being priced up by Barcelona and Bayern were rubbished by CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.
Hummels, too, switched to Munich ahead of the 2016/2017 season.
Sign up to our free United newsletter
Get the latest breaking Manchester United transfer news and analysis every day direct to your inbox with our free MUFC newsletter
What about the likes of Mario Gotze, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembele? You get the picture…
Responding to Raiola with regards to suggestions Haaland could favour a move to La Liga this summer, Dortmund’s CEO Watzke said: “It’s no problem for us. Erling Haaland will remain a Borussia Dortmund player next year.”
If issued by some clubs, that may be enough to throw United and other would-be suitors off the scent.
Given that it is the official word from a club with a long-standing history of selling up, though, that short statement is better consigned to the next day’s fish and chip wrapping.
Ultimately, the prospect of Haaland arriving at Old Trafford to spearhead an assault for a first Premier League crown since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013, will depend on a number of other factors – because a public stance issued by Dortmund has seldom proved to be on the money.