OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER’S new deal could put Manchester United in pole position to land Erling Haaland next year.
United narrowly missed out on the Norwegian hitman when he left Red Bull Salzburg for Borussia Dortmund 18 months ago.
The 21-year-old has a close relationship with his fellow countryman and was unwilling to take the chance on moving to Manchester if the manager was about to be sacked.
Both the striker and his father, former City star Alf-Inge, admitted they did not want to risk working under a boss they had no vibe for if Solskjaer was axed.
The United chief gave Haaland his debut as a teenager at Molde when he was managing the Norwegian outfit.
Solskjaer has constantly received regular updates on the player since he replaced Jose Mourinho three years ago.
And now his own long-term future has been secured after signing a new three-year contract last week, United top brass hope that will leave them as favourites to sign Haaland next summer.
Chelsea still hope to push through a deal before the end of the current transfer window, yet there is no sign they will be successful.
That will make Haaland Europe’s most wanted man next summer, when a £63million release clause in his Dortmund contract kicks in.
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United would ideally have liked to do the deal this summer, but the fee would be higher now, and the cash isn’t there after spending nearly £120m on Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.
Yet if Haaland does, as seems increasingly likely, stay in Germany for another season, they are confident they can win the guaranteed stampede for his signature.
Haaland began his career under Solskjaer at Molde, and after a year in Austria, has hit 57 goals in just 53 starts at Dortmund, making him the hottest young talent in the game.
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