Ole Gunnar Solskjaer offered his support to Erling Haaland after his compatriot joined Manchester City, though the Manchester United great told the striker he has joined “the wrong side of Manchester”.
Old Trafford favorite Solskjaer spent most of his career at Manchester United before taking up his first senior management role as Molde coach in 2011.
But it wasn’t until Solskjaer’s second stint in Norway with Mold that he crossed paths with Haaland and managed the youngster for two years before returning to the United manager in 2018.
Haaland subsequently earned a move to RB Salzburg, where he thrived before joining Borussia Dortmund, who beat Manchester United’s interest in the Norway forward.
Solskjaer’s draw was not enough to convince Haaland to choose Manchester United over Dortmund, where he scored 86 goals in 89 games in all competitions during his two-and-a-half year spell.
Only Robert Lewandowski (123 in 108 games) and Kylian Mbappe (93 in 111 games) of players from Europe’s top five leagues in that time period have surpassed that tally.
Manchester City made a bid to sign Haaland earlier this year and new arrival Pep Guardiola revealed Solskjaer was quick to make contact.
“When I signed for Manchester City he congratulated me and wrote me ‘good luck going to the wrong side of Manchester’,” Haaland told the Manchester Evening News.
“We talk sometimes. As you know, he had a huge influence on my career when I was at Molde. He’s a good guy.”
Haaland moves to the Etihad Stadium with considerable expectations, not least to fill the void left when Sergio Aguero left City in 2021.
The 21-year-old may contrast Aguero’s diminutive stature with his tall stature, but Haaland’s finishing is no different, with the Norway international scoring a goal every 3.6 attempts in all competitions last season and converting 65.8 per cent of his big chances.
“Three years ago, Manchester City didn’t want me because they had [Sergio] Aguero up front, so then there was no choice to come to Man City,” he added.
“Basically, I felt I felt better going elsewhere than here in England. I could have gone here many times in my career, but I felt it was a different place and I think it was a really good choice.”
“Since I went to Molde, then Salzburg and Dortmund, I made the perfect decision. I’m not complaining about that.”
Haaland will be hoping to get his first taste of Premier League action when City open their campaign at West Ham on August 7.