Man Utd: Can the Red Devils challenge for the title?
Manchester United may be hindered in their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland due to the presence of his agent Mino Raiola, according to reports. The controversial 53-year-old’s relationship with the club has been strained in recent years which could make sealing a reasonable agreement for Haaland’s services difficult.
United have been linked with the Norwegian forward for some time.
Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer attempted to sign Haaland before his move to Dortmund, but negotiations did not run smoothly and were ultimately unsuccessful.
The 20-year-old has established himself as arguably the world’s best young player since joining the Bundesliga outfit from Red Bull Salzburg at the beginning of the year, having scored a remarkable 33 times in just 32 appearances.
United are rumoured to be considering launching another bid for Haaland in January or during the summer, with The Athletic claiming that he is still at the top of Solskjaer’s wishlist, but striking a deal could be ‘complicated’ due to Raiola’s involvement.
The forward worked under the Red Devils boss during his time at Molde, where he was handed his professional debut as a fresh-faced 16-ye
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“I remember it was frustrating as a young striker, everything goes against you in training,” Haaland told Eurosport earlier this year, recalling Solskjaer’s words before his first match.
“I was alone with the keeper and the bar, got crosses from Ole Gunnar, but I missed on every opportunity. I remember Ole then said ‘I think you start this game, so just be ready’.”
The report also states that Everton talisman Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been sounded out as a potential alternative.
The striker has flourished under Carlo Ancelotti this season, having scored 11 Premier League goals in 14 matches.
However, it is expected that he may be equally difficult to sign with the decorated Toffees boss not looking to sell his star man under any circumstances.
Raiola, who is one of the most powerful agents in world football, represents a number of high-profile clients including Red Devils midfielder Paul Pogba.
His role as the Frenchman’s agent has long been a source of significant friction between himself and the club.
He was famously criticised by legendary United boss Sir Alex Ferguson following Pogba’s original departure from the club in 2012, with the Scot describing Raiola as a ‘s**t bag’ for his role in the saga.
Six years later, after Pogba’s return, then-manager Jose Mourinho slammed Raiola’s influence on the midfielder’s mentality amid rumours of a rift, claiming that any problems lay with the people that he ‘listens to’ and not with the player himself.
More recently, the agent publicly stated that Pogba is keen to leave United at the end of the season, a claim that has since been rebuffed by the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner.
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