Manchester United should have pushed harder to sign Erling Haaland in January, according to Paul Scholes, who says the Borussia Dortmund star is “the real deal”.
Haaland became one of the hottest properties in European football after a tremendous goalscoring run at Red Bull Salzburg in the first half of the season.
The 19-year-old hit 28 goals in 22 matches across all competitions for the Austrian outfit, including eight in the Champions League, and United were reportedly lining up a winter bid for his services.
The likes of Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool were also linked with Haaland, but it was suggested that Old Trafford was a more likely next destination given his previous dealings with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The teenager worked under Solskjaer at Molde earlier in his career, and his fellow countryman had been tipped to lure the in-form forward to Manchester for a reunion.
However, Dortmund ultimately ended up winning the race for Haaland’s signature, as they met the €22.5 million (£20m/$25m) release clause in his Salzburg contract.
Scholes thinks United missed a huge opportunity to sign “an out-and-out goalscorer”, and would like to see the Red Devils revive their interest in the Norwegian at some point in the future.
Asked if his old club should have gone all out for Haaland, the United legend told BBC 5 Live:
“Yes. Do you know what, when all the talk was about, I hadn’t seen a lot of him, but then once the German football came back and I watched him properly, I thought: ‘Why did Manchester United not just pay whatever anybody wanted for him?’
“He looks that good, he’s still young, and he’s an out-and-out goalscorer. He’s quick as well, he’s got real pace. He’s a big lad, he’s a presence, and he scores goals – and that’s priceless.
“Looking back – and do you know what, he still might be available, who knows, in time – but United are going to have to pay big, big money for him. But so what? He looks the real deal.”
Haaland has scored 16 goals in his first 18 outings for Dortmund, who finished second in the 2019-20 Bundesliga standings behind Bayern Munich, and he is contracted to remain at Westfalenstadion until 2024.