The Norwegian says he immediately saw the potential of his fellow countryman when coaching him at Molde
Erling Haaland always had the “personality” to reach the top, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has described the Manchester United-linked striker as a born winner.
Haaland is attracting attention from elite clubs across Europe heading into the summer transfer window, having established himself as one of the most prolific strikers in the Bundesliga and Champions League over the course of the 2020-21 campaign.
Solskjaer has not been surprised by the 20-year-old’s rapid rise to prominence after working with the forward in the early stages of his career at Molde, claiming that his potential was clear to see as a teenager.
What has been said?
Asked if he knew Haaland would go onto become the player he is today, the United boss told Sky Sports: “Yeah. You can see the personality.
“He came as a 16-year-old, of course you never know with injuries, he struggled really badly with bad knees when he came. But I could see someone with a personality.
“I remember him brushing off and putting our centre-back and centre midfielders, two big, massive lads, he put them on the floor and asked them to get up. He’s a winner.
“He’s got a great personality, of course. He’s proving to everyone how good a player he is.
“We played against Zenit in the Europa League play-off and the referee came to me after and said, ‘he’ll play in the Champions League soon’. We did know.
“He’s a top personality. I played with Alf [Haaland’s father], he’s a bit old school in that respect. He’s a winner.”
Solskjaer on Haaland to United rumours
The Red Devils were among a number of clubs credited with an interest in Haaland when he burst onto the continental stage at Red Bull Salzburg in the first half of the 2019-20 season.
Dortmund ended up winning the race for the Norwegian’s signature in January last year, but United have been tipped to re-ignite their pursuit when the transfer window reopens.
Solskjaer admitted that he has been keeping a close eye on Haaland’s progress in early February, but ultimately stopped short of confirming that he would like to bring him to Old Trafford.
“Erling will have a fantastic career. I’m following Erling. I’ve always said that. He is doing incredibly well for Dortmund, so we’ll see where he ends up,” he said.
“We will do what we can to become a better team, then he will do what he can to become a better player.”
Haaland’s explosive start at Dortmund
Haaland immediately hit the ground running following his move to Westfalenstadion from Salzburg, scoring 13 goals in his opening 15 Bundesliga outings for BVB.
He has reached even greater heights in his first full season on Dortmund’s books, finding the net 33 times in 31 appearances across all competitions.
Haaland has scored 10 goals in the Champions League, with the forward currently leading the race to be the competition’s top goalscorer ahead of a quarter-final showdown with Manchester City – who are also reportedly in the running to sign him this summer.