snubbed | 

Why Haaland left Manchester United off wish list of clubs striker wanted to go to

Father Alfie's points system directed his son Erling's City move as Manchester rivals failed to make final cut of seven clubs

Erling Haaland had certain criteria for a club before it could be a potential suitor. Photo: Reuters© REUTERS


Erling Haaland and his father devised an elaborate points system last season to help the Norway striker determine where he should move in the summer - with Manchester United not even making the final seven-club shortlist.

Haaland has been a revelation since joining Manchester City in a pounds 51 million deal and will face United in Sunday's derby at the Etihad for the first time since his June transfer.

But a new documentary - Haaland: The Big Decision - has lifted the lid on the intricate process that led to one of Europe's most coveted players picking City, and it will not make happy viewing for United fans.

Haaland's father, Alfie, revealed that he and his son devised a points system covering a series of criteria, including whether a potential suitor needed to buy a No 9, playing style, manager, history and stadium capacity, to help inform the -decision-making process.

By the end of February, seven clubs were in the running to sign Haaland from Borussia Dortmund but United - who had tried and failed to sign the player two years earlier - were not among them.

"On our list, I think City is the best team," Alfie said in the documentary - which was released on the Scandinavian streaming service Viaplay this month - a few months before deciding to move to the -Premier League champions.

"[Bayern] Munich is No 2. We have Real Madrid as No 3, Paris St-Germain as No 4. We also have some English teams other than City who are quite good - Liverpool and Chelsea. Also, there is Barcelona. They are sort of in the same row."

With the rankings updated regularly during the course of last season, the documentary revealed that City finished only marginally ahead of the second-ranked team, believed to have been Real.

Haaland Snr, a former City -midfielder, revealed that the club's need for a new striker counted strongly in their favour, while the uncertainty over the futures of -Robert Lewandowski and Kylian Mbappe worked against Bayern and PSG respectively.

"I think it was one point separating the top two with the last calculations," Alfie Haaland said.

United had come close to signing Haaland from RB Salzburg in -January 2020, when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was manager, only for the striker to opt instead to join -Dortmund.

Haaland decided to choose City in the second week of April with the club announcing the following month that they had reached an agreement in principle with Dortmund. Haaland described City as "the best sporting project in the world right now... it's where I think I'll do my best".

He also revealed that he had been inundated with pleas from members of City's squad to move to the Etihad when Guardiola's side met Dortmund in the Champions League quarter-finals the previous year, and that Guardiola's presence at City was a "big plus". "He is the best manager in the world," he said.

City, meanwhile, are on the verge of announcing that Phil Foden has agreed a new long-term contract.

The England forward has agreed a deal that will more than double his money to up to pounds 250,000 a week including bonuses and could tie him to the club until 2028.

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