Robin van Persie has been blown away by Erling Haaland’s ‘ridiculous’ start at Borussia Dortmund after Manchester United missed out on signing the forward.
Haaland’s outstanding form for Salzburg at the start of the season sparked a transfer race between Europe’s elite clubs ahead of the January transfer window, with Juventus, United and Dortmund all battling to sign the 19-year-old.
United deemed Haaland’s hefty wage demands to be excessive and instead completed a six-month loan deal for Odion Ighalo before last month’s deadline, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer short of options up front following Marcus Rashford’s injury.
Haaland ended up joining Dortmund for €20million (£16.75m), a fee that already looks to be incredible value, considering the Norway international simply cannot stop scoring for the Bundesliga giants.
The teenager has found the net 11 times in his opening seven matches for Dortmund and set multiple record’s during the side’s 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last Tuesday.
Van Persie has showered Haaland with praise after his record-breaking start at Dortmund and believes the German club have landed an ‘unbelievable player’ this winter.
‘Yeah, he’s unreal. I don’t think I’ve seen a young player reaching those stats,’ Van Persie told SPORTbible.
‘At Salzburg I didn’t see him play but I saw the stats and thought, “Wow, okay interesting”.
‘Now at Dortmund he’s breaking every single record, he keeps on scoring. First three games he came on twice, only played an hour, scored five goals.
‘It’s ridiculous, ridiculous stats. An unbelievable player.
‘Wow, what a start to his career.’
Jurgen Klopp believes neither United or Liverpool had a chance of signing Haaland in January and says it was down to ‘timing’ that the attacker ended up at Dortmund.
‘Everybody blames Man United for not getting him, but we wouldn’t have got him,’ the Liverpool head coach said.
‘We couldn’t have got him. It’s as easy as that. He wanted a top team, as soon as possible, with an open space… Borussia Dortmund.
‘That’s timing. I hope you know how much I love and respect the people at Dortmund, but it’s not that they made a perfect approach and did this and that, it was more they were there, had the space, number nine… “here we go, you are 19 years old, want to play Champions League, top end of Bundesliga, so go for it”.
‘Nobody else had a chance, I’m pretty sure, no matter what they say.’
Klopp dismissed comparisons between Haaland and the Norwegian’s ex-Salzburg team-mate, Takumi Minamino, who joined Liverpool last month.
‘The difference couldn’t be bigger. Erling Haaland made a perfect choice with Dortmund, and Taki made a perfect choice,’ the German added.
‘Taki finds here a completely different situation. That’s normal. We have no problems, nowhere really [for him to start] particularly in an offensive position, but we need variation at moments.
‘Taki tries everything. Against the ball he is top class, but if you ask him, although he doesn’t say it, he wants to do what we want him to do. But we want him to do what he does naturally.
‘That’s the time we need, and you lose a little bit of quality in that period until you fight back [to your best].
‘He knows how I see it, how I think about it, about the people who have had the same problems before. He is fine, is training really hard, but it’s a situation you can’t compare.’
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