Erling Braut Haaland moves to Borussia Dortmund
Jo Christian Weldingh
Borussia Dortmund won the race to sign Norwegian wunderkind Erling Braut Haaland, signing the 19-year-old in a 20-million-euro ($22.2 million) deal through 2024. The Dortmund club confirmed the transfer on the club’s website in late December with a video message from the young Norwegian himself. “Hello, BVB fans, Erling Haaland here, looking forward to joining this fantastic club,” he said. “Let’s go, see you next year.”
Haaland has attracted the interest of some of the biggest soccer clubs on the planet this fall, including Juventus of Italy’s Serie A, Barcelona of Spain’s La Liga, and Manchester United of the English Premier League. United, managed by Haaland’s former manager in Molde and fellow Norwegian Ole Gunnar Solskjær, were for a long time seen as the front-runners in the fight for Haaland’s signature. In the end, Dortmund came out on top.
When the news about the transfer broke, Manchester United officials claimed that they withdrew from talks because of what they described as unreasonable demands from Haaland’s infamous agent, Mino Raiola. The rumors say it had to do with a $60-million release clause and commission fees for both Raiola and Haaland’s father. Haaland’s representatives later denied this and emphasized that it was Haaland himself who chose Dortmund over any other club.
Haaland joins a Dortmund team that is currently fifth in the German Bundesliga and will probably play as a center forward, flanked by superstars Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho. Dortmund has a long history of nurturing young talents into superstars and then selling them to higher-profile clubs. Robert Lewandowski, Mario Götze, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have all had their breakthrough in Dortmund before moving on to bigger teams.
Many will claim that Dortmund is the ideal stepping stone for any talented young soccer player. They are a massive club that averages over 80,000 spectators per game (the highest in Europe). The Dortmund fans are often referred to as “The Yellow Wall.” They are usually in a position to fight for the Bundesliga title every year and therefore participate in the Champions League every season.
“I can’t wait to get started and play in front of over 80,000 fans in the incredible Dortmund atmosphere. I’m so excited,” Haaland was quoted on Borussia Dortmund’s website.
“Despite receiving numerous offers from some of the biggest clubs in Europe, Erling Haaland has decided that the best option for his career is to come and join our project here at BVB. Our persistence has paid off, ” said Hans-Joachim Watzke, chief executive officer of Borusia Dortmund on the club website.
Sporting Director Michael Zorc added: “We can all look forward to having an ambitious, athletic, and physically imposing center-forward here at the club. Haaland boasts a real eye for the goal, impressive speed, and we are confident that we can develop him even further here in Dortmund. At just 19 years of age, he is at the very start of what promises to be an incredible career!”
Haaland has been a promising young player for several years on the Norwegian stage but didn’t make the international headlines until September 2019 when he became the first teenager since Wayne Rooney to score a hat trick in his Champions League debut, when his team, Red Bull Salzburg, beat Belgian champions Genk 6-2. Even more impressive, Haaland did it in the first half of the game. He continued his great form through the rest of 2019 and had scored 28 goals in only 22 games for the Austrian team in league and Champions League matches.
It will be exciting to see if Haaland will be able to live up to the sky-high expectations in the German Bundesliga.
This article originally appeared in the January 24, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.