Erling Haaland’s astonishing goalscoring record has made him one of the hottest properties in European football but Manchester City have won the race to snatch him from Borussia Dortmund.
The 21-year-old, the son of former City midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland, shot to prominence in 2019 when he scored six Champions League goals in his first three games.
After hitting a hat-trick on his European debut for Red Bull Salzburg in September that year against Genk, he also struck against Liverpool and Napoli.
His 29 goals in 27 games for Salzburg sparked rumours of a reunion with his former manager at Molde, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was then at Manchester United.
But Dortmund’s track record of developing young talent and United’s refusal to insert a release clause in his contract took him to Germany instead.
The goals have continued to flow despite the step up to one of Europe’s top leagues.
Haaland scored a hat-trick on his debut as a substitute in Germany’s Bundesliga, needing just 20 minutes to bang in three goals and seal a 5-3 win at Augsburg.
“That’s what you signed me for,” the Leeds-born forward told Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc.
With one game of his career at Dortmund to go, Haaland has struck 85 times in 88 appearances.
However, his two-and-a-half years in the German top flight delivered just one trophy, when he scored twice in last year’s German Cup final.
Manchester City can confirm that we have reached an agreement in principle with Borussia Dortmund for the transfer of striker Erling Haaland to the Club on 1st July 2022.
The transfer remains subject to the Club finalising terms with the player.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 10, 2022
City have now triggered a reported €60-million (£51m, $63m) buyout clause.
A move to Manchester, where City are eyeing a fourth Premier League title in five seasons under Pep Guardiola, brings almost guaranteed silverware as long as the powerful Haaland remains fit and firing.
Injuries have been the one factor holding him back in his short career so far.
“He’s a human being, not a machine,” said Dortmund coach Marco Rose when a hip flexor problem restricted Haaland’s appearances for club and country earlier in the season.
Without him, Dortmund were unable to muster a fight for the Bundesliga as Bayern Munich romped clear to a 10th consecutive title.
One of Haaland’s most staggering goalscoring feats was hitting nine goals in one game in a 12-0 win for Norway over Honduras at the U20 World Cup in 2019.
But he will miss this year’s senior World Cup – and the chance to showcase his fearsome talents on the global stage – as Norway finished third behind the Netherlands and Turkey in their qualifying group, with Haaland absent for key matches.
A move to England comes with the compensation of playing in front of a worldwide audience every week.
However, the British media will have their work cut out to get in-depth answers from the latest star name to play in the Premier League.
“The day I do an interview over one minute will be the day I quit football,” Haaland, the master of short replies, once quipped.
© Agence France-Presse by Ryland JAMES