April 19, 2021

Man Utd

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Manchester United can seal a cut-price transfer deal for the next Erling Haaland

3 min read

Erling Haaland finally arrived in Manchester this week, although it wasn’t for the reason many associated with Manchester United would have hoped.

His Borussia Dortmund side took on neighbours Manchester City in the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday night.

All eyes were on Haaland, as is often the case, and although he didn’t get on the scoresheet, he did turn provider for team-mate Marco Reus as the German side grabbed a crucial away goal.

That proved to be the 20-year-old’s 41st goal contribution of the season, a staggering return for a player so young. Therefore it’s little wonder that he’s constantly being linked with moves to the biggest teams from across Europe.

United remain one of the favourites to land his signature, yet with clubs such as Real Madrid, City and Barcelona also interested, it still remains to be seen whether the Reds will have enough appeal to see off those rivals.

With hindsight, United would have most likely made a move for the Norwegian international 18 months ago whilst he was still an up and coming prospect at RB Salzburg.

Interestingly though, whilst they can’t turn back time to make this happen, they could work on finding the ‘next Haaland’. To do so going back to where Haaland rose to prominence might provide the answer.

RB Salzburg, and the Red Bull group in general, is a talent factory. There’s no doubt about that. In recent times they’ve brought through Sadio Mane, Joshua Kimmich, Timo Werner, Dayot Upamecano and many more of Europe’s current stars.



Patson Daka of RB Salzburg celebrates a goal

The latest exciting talent coming through the Salzburg leg of the network is exciting forward Patson Daka.

The 22-year-old was tasked with filling the void left by Haaland following his departure in January of last year. He did so excellently and finished the season with 24 goals in 31 league appearances.

He’s on course to better that this year and has already scored 23 goals in just 19 Austrian Bundesliga matches. That breaks down to a remarkable 1.46 goals per 90 and comfortably blows his Expected Goals (xG) average of 0.97 out the water.

When you throw in matches in Europe and domestic cups too, then that goal total rises to a stunning 30.

He’s perhaps a little rawer than Haaland as a player and he doesn’t possess the same physical profile, standing four inches smaller than the 6ft 4in Norwegian. However, he’s still a powerful and quick striker who can give any defence a difficult afternoon.

There are of course a few things to consider if United were to seriously weigh up a move though. Austria’s top tier is of inferior quality when compared to the Premier League, meaning questions would naturally arise as to how that goal return would translate into a tougher league.

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Additionally, Daka is attempting roughly 3.97 shots per 90 right now, which is high. At United, Bruno Fernandes attempts the most shots on a per 90 basis with 3.23. Could the Zambia international convert so frequently when being presented with fewer shooting opportunities?

That’s a question that most likely could not be answered unless the move happened. However, it’s also something that was asked about Haaland prior to his move to the Bundesliga, and we know how that turned out.

Beyond this, Daka is still young and his prime years are yet to come. He would cost United a fraction of what Haaland would, adding another layer to his overall appeal.

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