Allardyce & Ferguson Reveal How Close Haaland was to Joining Everton
Since his arrival in the Premier League, Erling Haaland has proved himself as a goalscoring machine, firing in an outrageous 17 goals in just 11 league appearances for Manchester City.
After becoming a striking sensation at Borussia Dortmund, Pep Guardiola’s side triggered the £54million release clause for the Norwegian in the summer and haven’t looked back since.
However, it could have been a completely different story. As revealed by Duncan Ferguson on the recent episode of the No Tippy Tappy Football Podcast – brought to you by Footy Accumulators in association with William Hill – it was almost Everton who landed the goalscoring ace whilst he was still an unearthed gem in his native Norway.
Trials with the Toffees
Speaking to Sam Allardyce and Natalie Pike on the podcast, Everton legend and former academy and first-team coach Ferguson described what happened and how the Merseyside outfit could have landed an incredible young talent if they had coughed up the funds.
Ferguson said, “Believe it or not, he [Haaland] was in at Everton. He was in at Everton, because his dad [former Leeds and Man City midfielder Alfie Haaland] had brought him in, and they never signed him.”
“I think he was around about 15 or 16 [years old] – I can’t remember exactly off the top of my head – they brought him in and the team that he was with wanted a couple of million quid for him, and Everton wouldn’t pay it.”
“I’m pretty sure, if his dads brought him to Everton, his dad would have brought him to Leeds. I’m pretty sure he’d have brought him to a few clubs.”
It remains to be seen what would have happened if the Toffees did take a gamble and pay a small fee for the striker, and where Everton – or even any of the other English clubs he was offered to - and Haaland would be now.
At around the age of 15/16, Haaland was still playing in Norway. After playing for his hometown team Bryne FK since an early age, he made the move to Molde in 2017 aged 16, where he played under Man United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Haaland went on to score 20 goals in 50 appearances in all competitions for the Norwegian side, attracting attention from plenty of clubs. One of those was Red Bull Salzburg, who snapped up the youngster for just over £7million.
Haaland continued to elevate his career at the Austrian Bundesliga champions, scoring 29 times in 27 appearances for the club. It was in Europe where the Norwegian talisman announced himself on the biggest stage though, scoring eight in six and joining Alessandro Del Piero, Serhii Rebrov, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski as the only players to score in the first five matches of a Champions League group stage. He also became the first teenager to score in five consecutive matches in the competition – increasing the interest in him even more.
Potential Reunion with Ole
After announcing himself on Europe’s biggest stage, many of the European heavyweights were looking at signing the talented youngster. One of those rumoured to be interested was Manchester United, with then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer apparently trying to tempt his former protégé, before he ultimately made the move to Borussia Dortmund.
As Big Sam pointed out on the podcast, Haaland was close to signing for the Red Devils.
Sam said, “Ole worked with him at Molde. Ole rang him up and met him, tried to coax him to come to Man United, he went to Man United and then it didn’t happen, and he went to Germany. So, I don’t know whether it was [because of] financial or whatever.”
It begs another mind-blowing question; what would have happened if Erling Haaland did join Manchester United? After failing to land Haaland, Ole’s United turned to the likes of loanee Odion Ighalo and Edinson Cavani to help get United firing, with both men having seen their best days behind them and the wrong side of 30. Ole would later lose his job as United endured a dire run of form and lost a lot of ground in building towards challenging at the top. Sam feels the signing of Haaland could have seen things play out differently.
Sam said, “I think, personally if he [Haaland] would have gone to Man United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would still be United manager.”
Whilst it’s easy to look back in hindsight, it goes without saying that things would have been a lot different if Ole would have signed the young talent he worked with at Molde, instead of seeing United panicking to lure strikers that were past their prime. The young and energetic Haaland, with bags of potential, would surely have made a better impact than the ones that United brought in in recent years.
You could argue that Haaland was a much better fit for United than the likes of Ighalo, Cavani, and even Cristiano Ronaldo – given the attractive and exciting football that is associated with the club, along with the focus on developing young talents.
As it stands though, Haaland went to the North Rhine-Westphalia outfit and continued his devastating goalscoring form in the Bundesliga. After a whopping 86 goals in 89 appearances for the German heavyweights, it was only a matter of time before a blockbuster move occurred to an even bigger stage. That opened the door for the Citizens to make the move and bring Haaland to Manchester. The rest, they say, is history.
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