Leeds’ big Erling Haaland mistake

Leeds United’s time under Andrea Radrizzani has been plagued by mistakes in the transfer market, largely through a lack of spending or rueing that one that got away.

Of course, there have been numerous examples of success stories, namely the likes of Raphinha, Illan Meslier and Patrick Bamford.

But with every Raphinha, there’s a Laurens de Bock, Vurnon Anita or Jay-Rot Grot – a trio of weird signings that made only a total of 51 appearances combined.

Back in 2017, though, the Yorkshire giants missed out on one of Europe’s most frightening strikers and in a time where Leeds have missed last season’s top goalscorer Patrick Bamford and are staring down the barrel of relegation, they must be reeling.

That man is Erling Haaland, who this week was announced as a Manchester City player.

The defending Premier League champions have signed the Borussia Dortmund forward in a €60m (£51m) deal, activating the 21-year-old’s release clause ahead of the summer transfer window, as per the BBC.

For a little over £50m, that has to be considered an absolute steal considering he’s valued at a whopping £135m by Transfermarkt.

But it could have been a different story for both Leeds and the Norway international.

Will Haaland ever play for Leeds?

Yes, 100%

No chance

No chance

Speaking on The Athletic’s ‘The Phil Hay Show’, football agent Hayden Evans revealed:

“He was at Molde, around about 17 [years old], and he was ripping it up but also fervently following Leeds United.

“We spoke to Victor [Orta, Leeds’ sporting director] and said, ‘Look, I can bring Erling to Leeds and the rest will be over to you,” before later adding:

“It went quite well, we went back, but the bottom line was that [Molde] wanted around four million pounds. Leeds were not in the stable [financial] position they are in now and he was not going to play, even the talent he was, he was not going to play first-team football at that age.”

After that move fell through, a young Haaland would go on to sign for RB Salzburg for around £7m in August 2018, where he quickly made a name for himself before completing a move to Borussia Dortmund, where he has consistently banged them in.

The Norwegian sensation netted a whopping 29 goals in 27 games in Austria and over the last two-and-a-half seasons for Der BVB, he’s bagged 85 goals in 88 appearances, as per Transfermarkt.

Such form and consistency has seen the 6 foot 4 talisman lauded as “a goal scoring cyborg” by journalist Alex Truica and a “one-man wrecking ball” by Gregor Robertson in The Times.

There’s no doubt that the 21-year-old is one of the most promising and lethal marksmen across the continent and Andrea Radrizzani’s failure to sign him for just £4m will be forever remembered as a catastrophic mistake.

AND in other news, Jesse Marsch drops Raphinha injury update ahead of Brighton…

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