Erling Haaland has been banging in the goals for Manchester City of late – but things could have been very different if he had joined either Arsenal or Liverpool.
Liverpool and Arsenal rejected the chance to sign Erling Haaland before the Norwegian became one of the most ruthless goalscorers in world football.
The 22-year-old has netted 13 times in his first eight appearances for Manchester City since making the £51million switch to the Etihad Stadium in the summer. Haaland scored City’s winner in the Champions League clash against former club Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, expertly guiding the ball home following Joao Cancelo’s cross.
Pep Guardiola managed to convince Haaland to join the reigning Premier League champions, with Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United also tracking his services. It is safe to say the youngster has excelled for City and would hit over 100 goals this season if he continues his current strike-rate and City reach every final possible.
That would be a terrific achievement for a player that was overlooked by Liverpool and Arsenal in 2019. Former Molde scout John Vik revealed how the Premier League duo were interested in Haaland before he left the Norwegian side for RB Salzburg in 2019. The striker has since gone on to become one of the most prolific attackers in Europe as he moved on to Dortmund before landing at City.
“Liverpool could have got him. Arsenal could have got him,” Vik told The Athletic. “Everyone was there to watch him but these clubs were seeing a No.9 who was tall and broad and, ‘Oh, he’s going to be a target man’. I couldn’t for the life of me see why they had narrowed him down that way.”
Vik added that the clubs will be “kicking themselves” after watching Haaland develop into one of the most feared strikers around. Haaland has already struck double figures in the Premier League – more than many forwards will score during the entire season.
He added another Champions League goal to his name against Dortmund with an acrobatic finish in the 84th minute. After the game, Guardiola declared that City’s No. 9 reminds him of two former Barcelona players.
“Maybe the people who know me know the influence Johan Cruyff had on my life as a person, a mentor, and years ago he scored an incredible goal in Camp Nou for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid,” Guardiola said.
“The moment Erling scored I thought it was quite, quite similar. I remember my dear friend [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, who has this ability to put the leg on the roof, and Erling is quite similar in that. I think it is his nature, he is elastic, he is flexible and after has the ability to make contact and put the ball in the net. I think his mum and dad give him that flexibility.”