Erling Haaland has scored 43 goals in 43 games for Borussia Dortmund; Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coached Haaland during his time in charge of Molde; United met Haaland's €20m release clause before he signed for Dortmund at the end of 2019
Wednesday 24 February 2021 20:17, UK
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he keeps in touch with Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland but is happy with Manchester United's transfer policy.
Haaland has developed into one of the world's most prolific forwards having scored 43 goals in 43 appearances for Dortmund since joining from Red Bull Salzburg at the end of 2019.
Solskjaer, who coached Haaland during his time in charge of Norwegian club Molde, reportedly met with the 20-year-old before his move to Germany after United head scout Marcel Bout had watched him play against Liverpool in the Champions League last season.
United met Haaland's €20m release clause at the time but could not agree on the conditions for the transfer, with the stumbling block believed to be the value of the requested buy-out option if the Norway international moved to Old Trafford.
Asked if Haaland is still a player he would like to have at United, Solskjaer said: "When you have had kids and players through as a coach you follow them, of course.
"I keep in touch with Erling. It's great to see him become the player he has become and I know he'll work to improve all the time. He's a Dortmund player, we just wish him well there and let's see what life will bring later on."
Haaland is under contract at Dortmund until 2024 but has a reported €75m (£66m) release clause, which comes into effect in the summer of 2022.
A host of Europe's top clubs have been linked with a move for Haaland, including United's Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester City, as well as La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Solskjaer added when asked if United's chances of signing Haaland in the future are over: "You know I can't speak about Erling because he's with Borussia Dortmund.
"I think it's disrespectful to talk too much about it, apart from that I know him and I speak to him.
"Who wasn't interested in him a year ago? Everyone would say they'd take the best players in the world and Erling is a top player.
"I think we've done well with recruitment. There's a boy sat next to me here (Dan James) who proves that, Bruno [Fernandes] as well.
"I think the signings we've made since I've come to the club have all contributed and added to the squad, and that's part of what we have to do.
"We have to complement what we have in our group with other different types of players and also young players, so I'm happy with our recruitment model and the processes we go through."
Edinson Cavani, Donny van de Beek and Scott McTominay remain out as United welcome Real Sociedad to Old Trafford for the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday.
Solskjaer's side are in a commanding position after a 4-0 win in Turin last week.
Van de Beek and Cavani missed that match due to muscle complaints, while McTominay has not featured since being brought off 60 minutes into the match against Sociedad.
"No, they're still out," Solskjaer said. "Still not trained enough or joined in, so it'll be more or less the same squad as we had against Newcastle."
January signing Amad Diallo made his debut off the bench in Turin, while fellow teenager Shola Shoretire made his bow as a substitute in Sunday's 3-1 win over Newcastle.
Hannibal Mejbri, 18, was closing in on his first-team debut but injury has delayed that.
"Hannibal was injured in the reserves, he'll be out for a month," Solskjaer said. "He was just coming into our squad. Unfortunately for him he's out.
"Amad and Shola, of course, they will be involved, they're in the squad. I'm not going to tell you if they're starting or not."
Solskjaer's bench looked different on Sunday, with the club confirming some of the coaching staff were having to self-isolate - a situation the United boss said remains unchanged.
"We've had loads of tests since then and all the players have been negative," he added.
"The precaution we did, I think we just acted in the right time and the right manner but they won't be with us now for this game, no."