DORTMUND, GERMANY – OCTOBER 25: Erling Haaland of Manchester City in action during the UEFA Champions League Group G match between Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City at Signal Iduna Park on October 25, 2022 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Speaking to The Athletic, Molde’s former head of scouting John Vik claimed Arsenal were one of the few clubs who could have signed Erling Haaland when he was still playing for Molde.
Arsenal pursued Haaland in 2018, as we reported, one of a number of clubs to do so. The club even took him to London before moving to Borussia Dortmund, having left Molde for RB Salzburg.
But McDermott is firm in his claim that Arsenal had no chance of signing Haaland because his family clearly had his professional background.
LILLESTROM, NORWAY – JULY 12: Erling Braut Haaland of Norway during the G19 Men photo session at Thon Arena on July 12, 2018 in Lillestrom, Norway. (Photo by Trond Tandberg/Getty Images)
“People can say that so-and-so club might have had him, but a lot of it is pie in the sky,” McDermott told The Athletic.
“I saw Haaland three times and I said: ‘Blimey, who is this kid?’. I met his father and we had very good talks, but I felt they knew the path they wanted for him.
“You can go to a massive club at that age and you can get lost. I’m not saying he would have, because he was excellent, but I just sensed that he and his dad wanted to do it differently. It was already written.
“He went to Salzburg and, yes, I understand. Borussia Dortmund, yes, I understand. From there you can go to Manchester City, Real Madrid, anywhere. They had it figured out.”
Indeed, they have managed his career well and, taking into account all of Haaland’s moves, the fees paid for him are well below his market value in every move but one.
Valued at just £180,000 when he was at Bryne FK, he moved to Molde for £90,000.
The only move in Haaland’s career so far where a club paid for him was when he moved to RB Salzburg for £7.2m, when he was worth £4.5m.
There, his value rose to £40.5m, but they only got £18m for him from Borussia Dortmund.
When City paid £54m for him, Haaland was valued at £135m.
Every club that sold him made a healthy profit, every club that bought him got a bargain and some of the money they saved undoubtedly went into Haaland’s bank account.