It’s the worst kept secret in football: Erling Braut Haland, the teenager with the world at his feet, will leave current club Red Bull Salzburg in the January transfer window.
The Norwegian, born in the year 2000 which will make plenty reading this feel very old suddenly, has been in red hot form ever since the summer, when he won the Golden Boot award at the FIFA Under 20 World Cup.
His goalscoring form continued for the Austrian side, for whom he has bludgeoned an incredible 28 goals in just 22 games this season, including six in the Champions League alone.
It goes without saying then that the 19-year-old is on the radar of some of the biggest clubs in the world, and there will be an almighty scramble to secure his signature in the next month or so – especially given that rumoured release clause in his contract of ‘just’ £21 million.
The bookies have priced up their next club market regarding Salzburg’s goal machine, and here we take a look at where the pick of the value could well lie.
|Club||Country||League||Odds of Joining|
|Red Bull Leipzig||Germany||Bundesliga||4/1|
|Manchester United||England||Premier League||9/2|
|Manchester City||England||Premier League||20/1|
Red Bull Leipzig (4/1)
As far as those in the know are aware, there is no contractual clause that gives Leipzig first dibs on their fellow Red Bull franchise’s player.
Even so, it’s a club that will probably appeal to Haland himself, given that they are into the last 16 of the Champions League and have genuine claims for the Bundesliga title given Bayern Munich’s woes.
Of course, Leipzig isn’t a club with any real history or tradition, and perhaps that might just hamper their attempts to get their hands on the teen sensation.
But their head coach, Julian Nagelsmann, is renowned for his work with young players and enhancing their development, so there is always that to consider.
However, on paper at least, you would presume the value lies elsewhere….
Borussia Dortmund (4/1)
Another German team, but this one has more of an identity and history than RB Leipzig.
Borussia Dortmund themselves have qualified for the knockout phase of the Champions League, and they aren’t a million miles away from top spot in the Bundesliga either – one of things Haland will be desperate for as a hungry young man is silverware.
The question the player himself will have to answer is whether he can depose Paco Alcacer, Dortmund’s current frontman who is injured, from the starting eleven in the long term.
He probably can, given his goalscoring exploits, and it should be noted here that Haland is said to have visited the Dortmund camp on Wednesday. That perhaps gives them the edge.
Manchester United (9/2)
You wonder how much of an influence the player’s dad, Alf Inge Haland, will have on his offspring’s destination.
He played for both Leeds United and Manchester City in his playing days – both sworn enemies of United – and you wonder how much of a factor that might be.
However, it is believed that Haland Jr grew up idolising Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and he had a spell under his countryman when the now United boss managed Molde.
If he was to come to England in January, you suspect there’s a more likely destination for him….
Manchester City (20/1)
This is a bet that looks excellent value to us.
Pep Guardiola will look to find a long-term successor to Sergio Aguero sooner rather than later, ad there are still doubts over whether Gabriel Jesus is that man or not.
With Manchester City lagging behind Liverpool in the Premier League, you wonder if Pep will be given licence to splash the cash and revitalise the club’s campaign – sending out a warning to the Reds that they haven’t given up on defending their title just yet.
For our money, City are the second most likely side to capture Haland after Borussia Dortmund, so perhaps that 20/1 price offers outstanding value.