FEATURE | A look back at Erling Haaland’s admirable Borussia Dortmund career

Now that Erling Haaland’s €60 million move to Manchester City has been confirmed, it’s time to take a look at his time at Borussia Dortmund and what he will bring to Pep Guardiola’s side as a new signing. 

Haaland arrived at Borussia Dortmund with an already huge reputation, having scored a first-half hat-trick on his Champions League debut for Red Bull Salzburg. It was performances like these that attracted the attention of Europe’s elite clubs. It was Dortmund who managed to secure his signature in December 2019 for a fee of €20 million.

The Norwegian quickly settled into life at the club, coming on as a second-half substitute away to Augsburg to score a hat-trick within 23 minutes. This made him only the second player in the history of the club to score a hat-trick on his debut after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Haaland continued his fine run of form right to the end of the season when it concluded in June after a pause in play due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The striker ended the campaign with 44 goals in 40 matches across all competitions for both Salzburg and Dortmund. A remarkable achievement considering he was still only 19-years-old at the time. This ensured he would be awarded the 2020 edition of the Golden Boy award.

Haaland would play a key role in the 2020/21 season, helping Dortmund secure their fifth DFB Pokal and his first piece of silverware at the club, with two goals in their 4-1 win over RB Leipzig. Haaland also won the Bundesliga Player of the Season award and finished as the top scorer in the Champions League with 10 goals, exiting the competition at the quarter-final stage to what would eventually become his new club, Manchester City. He would once again finish the season having scored more than 40 goals. With 41 across all competitions.

Intense transfer speculation in the summer of 2021 saw Haaland linked with several clubs. Manchester United were rumoured to be eyeing the striker in a €130 million deal with European champions Chelsea also being linked with a move before eventually re-signing Romelu Lukaku.

A move failed to materialise, in part due to the Dortmund hierarchy already sanctioning a transfer between the club and Manchester United for Jadon Sancho, which made them reluctant to sell any more high-profile players. A release clause in Haaland’s contract, which at the time was rumoured to be €75 million, but we now know that figure to be around €60m, also played a part in the striker staying at the Westfalenstadion for one more season.

Haaland would begin what would be his final season in Germany in prolific form, scoring a hat-trick in the first game of the season in the first round of the DFB Pokal. However, this is where he began to be sidelined with injuries. Marco Rose’s side would have to do without their star man for almost a month due to a hamstring injury.

The 21-year-old would return in mid-October from his injury but he would once again be forced to miss out due to a hip flexor injury, which would keep him out until the end of November.

Haaland would return from injury to score his 50th Bundesliga goal in a 3-1 victory over Wolfsburg in which he set a record for the fewest appearances made and the youngest player to score 50 goals.

Another injury setback meant that would miss seven consecutive games with knee and muscle problems from January to March. Haaland has since returned to the starting XI but his injury problems will remain a cause for concern, especially now as his big money move to City has been confirmed.

So, what will Haaland offer to Manchester City when he joins the club on July 1? For one thing, goals are pretty much guaranteed. City have been searching for a replacement for Sergio Agüero for a year now, with a £100 million plus move for Harry Kane failing to materialise last summer. This meant Gabriel Jesus was Guardiola’s only recognised striker. However, this is something that could work in City’s favour.

Haaland is exactly seven years and one week younger than Kane and so has youth on his side. Everyone at City must be extremely happy at their decision to end talks with Tottenham Hotspur last summer as they have now got a world class striker who is still just 21 and for nearly half the price of an ageing Kane who albeit, is still in the prime of his career.

If Haaland can remain fit and overcome his injury demons, he would fit in well in a Pep side with the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva to supply him as they chase that ever elusive Champions League title.

Jacob Toland

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