Ole Gunnar Solskjaer supported Erling Haaland after his compatriot joined Manchester City. However, the Manchester United great told the striker he had joined “the wrong side of Manchester”.
Old Trafford’s favourite Solskjaer spent most of his career with United before taking his first role in senior management as the coach of Molde in 2011.
But it was not until a second spell in Norway with Molde for Solskjaer that he crossed paths with Haaland, managing the youngster for two years before returning to coach United in 2018.
Haaland subsequently moved to RB Salzburg, where he thrived before joining Borussia Dortmund.
The draw of Solskjaer was not enough to convince Haaland to choose United over Dortmund.
He scored 86 goals in 89 competitions during his two-and-a-half-year spell.
That tally was bettered by only Robert Lewandowski (123 in 108 games) and Kylian Mbappe (93 in 111 games), of players from Europe’s top five leagues.
City swooped in to sign Haaland earlier this year, and Pep Guardiola’s new arrival revealed Solskjaer was quickly in contact.
Haaland told the Manchester Evening News:
“When I signed with City, he congratulated me and wrote ‘good luck on going to the wrong side of Manchester’.
“We talk sometimes. As you know, he had a huge impact on my career when I was at Molde. He’s a good guy.”
Haaland moves to the Etihad Stadium with significant expectations, none less so than to fill the void when Sergio Aguero left City in 2021.
The 21-year-old may contrast the diminutive figure of Aguero with his tall stature. Still, Haaland’s finishing is no different, with the Norway international scoring a goal every 3.6 attempts last season in all competitions and converting 65.8 per cent of his big chances.
“Three years ago, City didn’t want me because they had [Sergio] Aguero up front, so then there was no choice about coming to Man City,” he added.
“I felt more going to the other place than coming here to England.
“And I could have come here many times in my career.
“But I felt the other side, and I think it was a perfect choice.
“I have made perfect choices since I went to Molde, then Salzburg and Dortmund. I’m not complaining about that.”
Haaland will hope to get his first taste of Premier League action when City open their campaign at West Ham on August 7.
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