Erling Braut Haaland turned down higher wages from Manchester United and Juventus to sign for Borussia Dortmund, because of the Bundesliga club’s proven success in developing young players.
The 19-year-old Norwegian has joined Dortmund in an £18m purchase from Red Bull Salzburg, despite sources close to the move maintaining United were initially willing to do a deal that would have left Haaland with up to £70,000 a week more in wages.
His contract at the Westfalonstadion is understood to be around £100,000 a week, but the potential to develop as a player and start in the Champions League were as important to the player and his camp as the financial terms.
Dortmund were confident they had the forward weeks ago, after conversations in which they spelled out a defined role in the team, as well as how they have represented a proven pathway for young players.
It was put out on Sunday evening that United’s interest in Haaland had collapsed due to a refusal to agree on the player’s camp – and agent Mino Raiola – getting a share of any future sale as well as having a buy-out clause, but some figures privy to the Dortmund deal have expressed bemusement at this.
It has been privately pointed out that United did continue to talk with Raiola for weeks despite this, but also that such contracts are common constructs in Germany. Mario Gotze and Julian Brandt are two players who have had similar deals.
Sources in Europe maintain that the main reason Haaland has gone to Dortmund is that it’s “a perfect step”. It’s not a Real Madrid or Barcelona that probably would have been too great a leap at this point, but still, a big Champions League club, who were offering a defined role.
In contrast to that, Juventus have a bloated array of attacking options dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo, while United have Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.
Even from that perspective, the Old Trafford hierarchy aren’t missing out on that much, other than a young talent of obvious potential. Their needs elsewhere, however, are greater.
Haaland has meanwhile been promised a greater role in the Dortmund team.