Borussia Dortmund chief reveals how close Erling Haaland came to joining Manchester United before Ed Woodward pulled out of deal

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Borussia Dortmund chief Hans-Joachim Watzke has revealed how close Erling Haaland was to signing for Manchester United in January 2020.

Haaland was at Red Bull Salzburg at the time and wanted to leave the Austrian club in January 2020 amid interest from Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund.

Then-United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believed he’d wrapped up a deal for a player he knew well from Molde but former Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward’s reluctance to meet a key demand ruined the deal for Manchester United.

According to Borussia Dortmund chief Hans-Joachim Watzke, Woodward pulled out of the deal to sign Haaland due to his reluctance to insert a release clause in his contract.

That allowed Watzke and Dortmund to swoop just before the January 2020 transfer window and snatch the prolific striker from beneath United’s noses.

Watzke told 19:09 Talk: “We gave Erling Haaland a release clause… otherwise he would have gone to Manchester United.”

Haaland’s release clause is believed to be around £63million and, after scoring 82 goals in 86 appearances during two-and-a-half seasons with Dortmund, the 21-year-old is now set to move.

Borussia Dortmund paid only £18million to sign Haaland in January 2020 but are now set to sell the forward for £63million amid interest from Manchester City and Real Madrid.

Having failed in the efforts to sign Haaland, United ended up taking Odion Ighalo on loan from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua at the tail end of the January window.