SALZBURG, AUSTRIA – OCTOBER 23: Erling Braut Haaland of Salzburg celebrates his second goal to tie … [+]
Manchester United have stepped up their interest in signing the Norwegian striker Erling Haaland from Red Bull Salzburg.
The Old Trafford club are increasingly confident they can now agree a deal to bring Haaland to England as early as the January transfer window.
United head scout Marcel Bout was despatched to watch Haaland against Liverpool in the Champions League this week, and the club could be on the verge of launching a bid.
The 19-year-old striker is an even more attractive prospect as he has a release clause in his contract making him available for just £17 million.
After scoring 28 goals in 22 games so far this season, including eight in the Champions League, Halaand has become one of the most sought after young talents in world football.
SALZBURG, AUSTRIA – DECEMBER 10: (BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Dejan Lovren of FC Liverpool and Erling Braut … [+]
Alongside Bout at Red Bull Arena this week were representatives from around 40 other clubs watching Haaland.
The striker is ready to leave Salzburg, and it is believed he has already spoken to Borussia Dortmund and Red Bull Leipzig this week.
Some within Haaland’s camp believe he shouldn’t rush to the Premier League, but instead join a Bundesliga club to develop as a player for the next couple of seasons.
But United are confident the player favours a move to United and the opportunity to be reunited with his former manager and compatriot Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The current United manager signed Haaland for the Norwegian side Molde in 2017, and helped to nurture him as a player for nearly two years.
Robert Mak (L) of FC Zenit Saint Petersburg and Erling Braut Haland of Molde FK vie for the ball … [+]
NurPhoto via Getty Images
United have been monitoring Haaland since Jose Mourinho was in charge at Old Trafford, and sent a scout to watch him play in the summer of 2018.
With Solskjaer now at the helm, and Haaland having established himself as a leading striker quicker than had been expected, United feel the time is right to strike a deal.
The United squad has been at least a striker short since the departure of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan last summer, and Haaland would be his belated replacement.
There are still obstacles to clear though, which include having to negotiate with Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola, who United have a strained relationship with after he spoke out about another of his clients Paul Pogba wanting to leave Old Trafford.
But this is not insurmountable and United believe Haaland could be an ideal addition to their front line alongside Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.