Manchester United are hopeful that their decision to extend the contract of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could aid their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland next summer.
Solskjaer inked a new three-year deal at Old Trafford late in July, with United keen to reward him for not only steadying the ship, but managing to turn United back into genuine powerhouses of the English game after years of struggle.
To keep his rebuild going, Solskjaer is keen to land a new striker and has his sights set on Haaland, but United have ruled themselves out of the race for the Dortmund man this summer and instead plan to wait until next year, when his £63m release clause will kick in.
Chelsea are pushing to get a £150m deal over the line this summer as they know there will be immense competition for Haaland’s signature when that clause does become active. According to The Sun, United hope Solskjaer’s new contract will help move them to the front of the queue.
Solskjaer remains close with fellow Norwegian Haaland from their mutual time together at Molde. It was Solskjaer who gave the young striker his debut for the club, and Haaland has previously spoken of just how impactful the boss was on his development.
“Solskjaer and I did some practice on finishing,” he told Eurosport in 2020. “Not just crosses. I remember he taught me some easy rules.
“He has taught me a lot to be calm, and also be on your toes and come to those situation where the ball is coming. It is then you have the chance to score. He deserves a lot of credit for teaching me that.”
United hope that the close bond between the two Norwegians could work in their favour and convince Haaland that the best place to continue his development is Old Trafford, and it is even said that they are ‘confident’ of winning the race for his signature.
They had hoped to do a deal this summer, but with Dortmund prepared to demand around £150m, United decided against a move and instead prioritised bolstering in other positions. Jadon Sancho joined for £72.9m and Raphael Varane is on the cusp of his own £41m move to the club.
In the meantime, all eyes will be on Chelsea, who are looking to sneak ahead and land Haaland this summer. If they are unsuccessful, United will be all over the young striker in 12 months’ time.