We’ve all seen it; the clip of former Eastenders actor who landed gigs at Talksport and Sky Sports, Rory Jennings claiming Erling Haaland was “profligate” in front of goal and would be fortunate to chalk up a 15-goal return in his debut Premier League season.
With Erling, the son of Alfie edging ever closer to that unprecedented 40-goal Premier League mark following his £60 million transfer to Manchester City, Rory Jennings is heading for a transfer of his own… back to Albert Square.
As with any top young talent, there was a lengthy list of potential suitors for the Norwegian international, from Liverpool to Real Madrid, here are clubs the Scandinavian Viking could have ended up at…
During a recent interview, Frank Lampard disclosed how in 2019, prior to the frontman’s move to Red Bull Salzburg, he tried to sign him: “He’s a player I tried to bring to Chelsea, his level at that point was very clear.
“Credit to him, I love seeing players at that level with the hunger to be the best. From our point, I was pushing it, I’m not sure what the appetite was elsewhere. The competition was big, I think there was a buyout clause that was relatively reasonable maybe considering the player. I don’t know the details. I don’t know if he would have decided to come anyway, but I was a big fan. I was pushing big, he was the outstanding one”.
A player the Pensioners could have done with this season, having netted just 36 goals, the fourth-lowest in the league.
The Turin-based Italian giants had been monitoring the lethal striker since 2017 and had a deal proposed and agreed upon while the player was at Molde, even hosting the 17-year-old (at the time), at their training base and £800 million stadia.
With several prominent figures at The Old Lady keen on bringing Haaland to Serie A, viewing the Norwegian as a natural replacement for the ageing Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic, the decision was ultimately, left down to Juve CEO, Giuseppe Marotta, who put an abrupt end to proceedings due to financial reasons.
The Toffees transfer business of late has been notoriously wayward, lacking in direction, and extortionately wasteful.
That said, they had almost stumbled across a gem in Haaland, but in typical Everton fashion, the Merseysiders’ famous lack of transfer nous proved detrimental, turning down the chance to sign the up-and-coming starlet in 2018 for a meagre sum of just £5 million. The goal-shy pro-evolution-dubbed “Merseyside Blues” could have done with his productivity in-front of goal this term.
It would have been especially apt if Leeds’ long-lost son, Haaland returned to his birthplace to play under the meticulous mind of Marcelo Bielsa during the resurrection of a fallen giant.
During the Elland Road side’s final season in the Championship prior to promotion, the Lily Whites had been in talks with Haaland, and Alfie, a former player for the club. Inextricably tied to the north Yorkshiremen, Erling was courted by club officials and even made the trip over from Molde. Like Everton, Leeds turned down the chance to sign the prolific talisman for just £5 million.
According to reports, from ChronicleLive, the Tynesiders were lining up a move for Haaland before the club-changing injection of Saudi Arabian cash in 2018. Purportedly, the Magpies had sent scouts to watch the striker in action while at Molde, but subsequently didn’t act on their interest.
A player that Geordies would have undeniably loved to have signed, players of his stature, potential, and ability are now all within touching distance thanks to their stellar season and an unrivalled, bottomless pool of funds.
“I told you so” seems to be a common theme running through the veins of disgruntled, (now) out-of-work managers who had told their bosses about Haaland’s abilities years ago, the footballing equivalent of someone telling you they’ve “been listening to (insert artist) for years” before topping the charts.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer is no different, having supposedly pestered his employers to fork out the £4 million asking price for the City striker, who had played under him at Molde.