Games played: 26. Goals scored: 32
Teenage striker Erling Braut Haaland is the hottest property in Europe at the moment and his scoring rate has not slowed since joining Borussia Dortmund from Red Bull Salzburg in January.
The 19-year-old Norwegian rejected the approach of compatriot Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Manchester United manager, and has started life in Germany in sensational fashion, netting eight goals in his first four games.
“I don’t think there is any chance you could imagine him doing that,” former Middlesbrough and Sheffield United striker Jan-Age Fjortoft told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“He is scoring more or less every chance he has got. He has just been brilliant and is one of the greatest prospects we have in football.
“Let’s not forget he is 19. I always compare a football career with education. You try to go to the best high school and then college. Now he is at the best college he could be.”
Solskjaer worked with Haaland for two years at Molde, giving the striker his debut at 16, and flew to Austria to talk with the teenager in December.
His career is being guided by agent Mino Raiola, who also looks after Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba, and his father Alf-Inge, who played for Leeds United and Manchester City.
They decided a move to Germany would be best for his career, having determined that a transfer to Juventus was not in his best interests earlier in his career.
“You always define big clubs, it is not like Dortmund is a development club,” says Fjortoft. “They get 81,000 every week, they are in the Champions League – which some clubs aren’t at the moment – and they are used to developing players into great players.
“He can improve and he should improve, that is why he went to Salzburg not Juventus because they have a great way to educate young players.
“They could have gone to Manchester United this time or Juventus but he chose Dortmund. A 19-year-old waking up after a hat-trick on his debut, it is great to wake up in Dortmund, not a Manchester, not a Turin. It is good for the progress of his career.
“Alfie Haaland always said we should think of the difference a club between wanting a player and needing a player.
“What I like about Team Haaland is they have always taken the development of the player first. He is at the club he should be, where he can develop.
“Do I think he will play in England one day? Of course he will. He was born in England, but at this time Dortmund is the best place for him to be.”
Analysis: ‘Players can flourish in Germany’
BBC Sport’s Simon Stone
Manchester United made Erling Haaland one of their major transfer targets.
So keen were United to get Haaland to Old Trafford, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer flew to Germany to watch the youngster, who used to play for him at Molde.
Yet, deep down, there was always a suspicion Haaland would go to Germany.
In brutal finance terms, the likelihood is Haaland will command a bigger fee when he leaves Dortmund than if he had gone to England, or Spain, straight away – something his adviser, super agent Mino Raiola, will be acutely aware of.
In addition, the example of England’s Jadon Sancho indicates Germany is a better place for young talent to flourish than the Premier League.
Article courtesy of BBC Sport