They currently sit in fifth place, almost 20 points off the top of the Bundesliga and having sacked a coach in December. Forget about catching Bayern Munich for the title, for BVB it’s just about making sure they qualify for Europe’s premier tournament next season.
So while English fans can look forward to Dortmund’s next Champions League quarter-final meeting with Man City – a tie brimming with sub-intrigue, given Jadon Sancho’s ties to the club – the National issues may soon take priority in North Rhine-Westphalia.
And what ramifications could such a Bundesliga failure have for Haaland’s future and for Manchester United’s interest in signing the ultra-prolific Norwegian sniper?
Much of the conversation around United’s interest in Haaland has centered on his relationship with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, his former manager in Norway with Molde between 2017 and 2018.
The general consensus has been, given the closeness between Haaland and Solskjaer, that this personal factor could be decisive in persuading the 20-year-old to choose United on judgment day.
It now seems inevitable that Haaland will have a choice of Premier League clubs in this summer’s transfer window or next. He has his own ties to the UK having grown up on either side of the M62 watching his father, Alf Inge, play for Manchester City and Leeds. And the Premier League will pay better too.
So with a connection to two of United’s rivals (one of which at City may well land his signing), it has to be a Solskjaer charm offensive to get Haaland to Old Trafford, right? ?
Wrong. United should have a lot more to offer than a friendly face, although many players have approved of Solskjaer’s men’s management style.
United are hoping, with director of football John Murtough and technical director Darren Fletcher in tow, that they now have the tools to make such a seismic transfer a success. These were tools they lacked last summer in their failed pursuit of Sancho.
The Englishman’s Dortmund team-mate could be even harder to distinguish from the German club, especially if he seals the Champions League qualification and with that legendary £ 70million release clause not active until June 2022. This is why many United fans are not optimistic about the chances of doing so. see Haaland in a red shirt.
Asked this week by a Norwegian media VG what qualities a club must have in order to sign for them, Haaland replied bluntly: “They must want me. ”
He had already poured cold water over the rumors that now multiply every day as the summer window draws closer.
He said: “I still have a three-year contract, I’m not concerned about that. ”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side put on a disappointing performance, despite Mason Greenwood’s goal, and were deservedly beaten at King Power. That only leaves them second in the Premier League and Europa League to fight for this season.
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But if Dortmund don’t enter the Champions League group stage next season, you must think Haaland will be there, hook or crook.
United will surely win a Champions League berth next season and might also have the lure of being a European trophy holder by then, if they can make it all the way to the Europa League.
It seems unlikely that Dortmund will seal Champions League qualification by winning the thing; and they’re four points behind in the Bundesliga top four.
United don’t quite have all the aces, but they have a kingmaker in Solskjaer and a potential king in Haaland. His arrival would give them a full house in attack.