Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has an interesting relationship with one of the brightest young players in world football.
The Manchester United boss worked alongside Erling Haaland when he was coming through the ranks at Molde.
Solskjaer was the manager at the time and saw first hand the teenager’s potential as he eventually left Norway to compete in both Austria with RB Salzburg and finally Germany with Borussia Dortmund.
Much has been made of the fact Solskjaer knows Haaland, with the striker routinely linked with a big-money move to Man United.
But Solskjaer prioritised signing Haaland’s teammate Jadon Sancho this month, with the Red Devils ready to part with a huge £73million to complete the deal after agreeing on terms with the Englishman.
Speaking about Haaland to Norwegian newspaper VG in July 2018, Solskjaer opened up on the young striker and talked about his connections to both Leeds and Manchester City through his dad.
He pointed out that both clubs are, of course, rivals with the Red Devils.
But he explained that when Manchester United come calling – as they did for him when he was a player at Molde – it is very hard to turn them down.
“He is probably not the world’s biggest Manchester United fan,” said the now Red Devils boss. “But if they come to the door, there are not many who say no to that.”
Solskjaer has gone on to speak about Haaland on numerous further occasions, and most recently did so in March 2021 after the Dortmund star eclipsed his Champions League goalscoring record.
“It was just a matter of time before he scored more goals than me in the Champions League,” Solskjaer said.
At the age of 20 to achieve the amount of goals he has is fantastic, there are not many more superlatives anyone can use. Whatever I want to say to him I’ll say in Norwegian directly to him.
“I’ve never been one to look back at records and think about it. Now it’s, ‘You’re the first manager to do this to win this,’ and my focus is always on improving and getting better.
“Unfortunately I can’t play football anymore and Erling can only work on improving and keep on scoring.”