Erling Braut Haaland to Manchester City
Business and Sports Editor
The Norwegian American
Erling Braut Haaland is just 21 years old, but you wouldn’t know it from where his professional soccer career has taken him. It started for the ultra-talented Norwegian striker at hometown Bryne, then to Molde in the Eliteserien when he was 16; sold to Red Bull Salzburg (Austria) on Jan. 1, 2019, at 18; sold exactly a year later to Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga at 19. He played three years in yellow and black scoring an amazing 86 goals in 89 games.
His next stop is Manchester City in the Premier League, who just completed winning their second straight league title on May 22. The league, as its name implies, is a goal of many soccer players. At 21, Haaland still has time to play in France, Italy, and Spain, and maybe save a couple of years for MLS. It is believed Real Madrid was also in the running for Haaland.
The deal became official on May 10, effective July 1. As early as April 19, The Athletic was reporting Haaland was headed to Man City, where Haaland’s father, Alf-Inge Haaland, signed to play in 2000, shortly after Erling’s birth. The publication quoted Haaland as saying he told MC he wanted to play for them and “initial personal terms” were being negotiated. The Daily Mail said it had an exclusive that Haaland would be the highest paid player in the Premier League and could sign within a week. However, it took almost a month to cross the t’s and dot the i’s.
Though Haaland’s contract with Dortmund was through 2024, he had a buyout clause for after this season of €75 million ($80.5 million), BBC, Sky Sports other media reported the figure as €60 million euros ($64.4 million).
If The Daily Mail is correct, his salary will be £500,000 a week ($627,420). According to Transfermarkt, his market value is NOK 1.5 billion (almost $156.8 million). Not bad for a 21-year-old.
Upon the announcement, there were tweets, Instagram posts, statements. A whirlwind of activity. The realization of his last game with Dortmund.
Emmanuel Odey writing on bitterblue.sbnation.com, called it the “deal of the summer.” Odey noted Haaland would fix Sky Blues’ offensive struggles and could be the factor that would allow MC to seriously challenge for a Champions League trophy.
“He was and remains one of the hottest properties in European football, even world football,” wrote Odey. “Erling Haaland can walk into any team and command a starting shirt. He will instantly improve the team. That’s how good he is and the numbers speak for themselves…But having proved himself as one of the best players of his generation, in fact, one in the top three bracket of the best strikers in the world…everyone wanted him… But here we are with a generational talent in the mold of the biggest names in the game in times past, names like Pele, Maradona, Ronaldo Nazario, Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo, set to play for Manchester City.”
The day after the agreement was announced, Kevin De Bruyne scored four goals as Manchester City defeated Wolverhampton 5-1. The Belgian De Bruye, in a welcome to Haaland, imitated Haaland celebrating a goal against Paris St.-Germain in a Champions League game two years ago.
Coach Pep Guardiola, who had been pressed by the media about the potential signing of Haaland, when he wasn’t permitted to answer, could finally do so.
“It is a good sign for the future,” he said. “He will hopefully be here for many, many years, and I’m sure he will adapt to our team perfectly next season. He is an incredible talent, at the perfect age, and we will help him adjust.”
Blues player Aymeric Laporte tweeted, “Glad that I do not have to run after this guy in the years to come.”
On May 13, the signing was a topic of discussion as a statue of Sergio Agüero was unveiled outside City’s Etihad Stadium. Agüero, whose career was cut short in December by heart problems, scored 260 goals in 390 games for Man City.
“[Haaland] is a good striker,” said Agüero. “I hope he adapts well to the team, because it is not easy to play in the Premier League. I wish him all the best, because now I am a Manchester City supporter, and I hope he scores many goals.”
Back in Dortmund, it was time to prepare for the farewell and reflect on Haaland’s impact on the team.
“Borussia will not stop playing football when Erling disappears,” said manager Marco Rose, who would be fired May 23. “He gave us goals, speed, energy, and always the desire to win. Erling still has areas he can develop and improve on. We wish him the best of luck. We will follow him further and, hopefully, we will meet again. Erling is a nice young man. He is a thoroughbred professional in every way.”
A capacity crowd of more than 70,000 fans attended the farewell party on May 14. Haaland scored a hat trick in his first game with Dortmund–as a substitute–and was the youngest to score a hat trick in a Champions League game. The last game was not going to faze him. His last goal for the yellow and black was a penalty kick in the 65th minute that created a 1-1 score with Hertha Berlin. Youssoufa Moukoko’s goal in the 85th minute gave Dortmund a 2-1 victory.
Before the game, he was presented with flowers. Afterward, Haaland took to Instagram: “It has been a pleasure and an honor to play with this suit. In Dortmund I have had memorable moments, met many wonderful people and extraordinary teammates, not to mention a bunch of supporters who have always been an extra man on the field. The yellow wall is absolutely incredible, and something you must experience at least once in your life. I will never forget any of this. Thank you, everyone.”
He also thanked the fans and team in German in a video.
In his hometown, the next day, a mural of Haaland on the outside of a dairy building was unveiled. The artist wished to be anonymous as “Mob,” but was also referred to as Pøbel. The picture has Haaland in a Dortmund uniform.
“I do not know how long we have spent, but now it is finally clear,” Pøbel told NRK. “It is very nice to get it ready by May 17. This is the story of Erling, so it doesn’t matter what color is on the suit.”
On his Instagram account, Haaland described the mural as “insane,” and added “never forget where you come from.”
And he takes his next step forward.
This article originally appeared in the June 10, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.