Manchester United v Everton: Match in pictures
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Manchester United may have to work harder than expected to land Norwegian sensation Erling Haaland next summer, with a number of factors hinting that he may stay at Borussia Dortmund. The striker could be the subject of a furious transfer saga in 2022 when an affordable release clause becomes active in his contract with BVB, unless he decides to pen a new deal out in Germany.
Haaland has been left frustrated after his lightning start to the new campaign was hampered by a thigh injury.
Although he is still side-lined, the 21-year-old has already notched eight goals and his side are performing well to stay within touching distance of Bayern Munich.
English youngster Jude Bellingham is putting up numbers in his absence, and the pair have struck up quite the partnership both on and off the pitch.
Apart from his injury, life is good for Haaland at Dortmund as his meteoric rise to the top of European football continues.
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That much will be bad news for the likes of United, who are likely to be in the running next summer when his £65million release clause becomes active.
Naturally, the Red Devils would prefer a straightforward negotiation to offer Haaland a move which he already wants, although Sport-Bild claim that the goal-machine is pondering three good reasons to stay.
Firstly, the player and his father have always prioritised on-pitch development over money.
Dortmund has long been hailed as the Mecca for developing young talent, a bracket which Haaland still firmly falls into. As long as he remains at the club he is likely to be the main attraction.
Second, he is getting more settled with each passing month having completed the switch from RB Salzburg almost two years ago.
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His on-field demeanour clearly shows that he is becoming a leader within his young team, while he is working under a manager he knows and gets on with amid a positive environment.
That last point is crucial, with toxic atmospheres developing around big clubs like Barcelona and Arsenal for spells this campaign, creating less than ideal conditions to thrive in.
Finally, Dortmund are reportedly preparing to expand their wage bill in an effort to almost double Haaland’s weekly pay.
Such a package would still be less than some of Europe’s wealthiest clubs could offer, but he certainly would not be left wanting for cash in his early-twenties.
If BVB use all three factors to their advantage, it will spell bad news for the interested pack who could have a tough job on their hands convincing him to leave.
At least for United they have the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani and Mason Greenwood to cushion the blow if a move for Haaland does not work out, while Manchester City and Liverpool both have ready-made vacancies waiting for the youngster.
An already tough battle between Europe’s biggest clubs could become even tougher as an unlikely contender enters the running to sign Haaland beyond 2022 – the club he already plays for.
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