When Norwegian wonderkid Erling Haaland broke onto the scene in 2019, it was seen as a deeply exciting time for Norwegian football. Long viewed as a prodigious talent, the hope was that he could settle in the Austrian Bundesliga and keep progressing at Red Bull Salzburg. However, a January exit to Borussia Dortmund was met with both excitement and trepidation. Having impressed so much in Austria, could the powerhouse number nine continue to deliver in the German Bundesliga?
The answer is a resounding yes. So resounding, in fact, that some already wonder whether or not the Norwegian has outgrown the Westfalenstadion. BVB have enjoyed another transitional year, with the expected sacking of coach Lucien Favre taking place in late 2020. Despite scoring over 30 goals for the club in a calendar year, Haaland could do little to stop the club falling as many as 10 points behind FC Bayern come January ’21. Having shown he can cut it in the top leagues, has Haaland already got the most that he can out of BVB?
While that might seem presumptuous, there are some worries that the striker has already seen enough in Germany. Moves to Real Madrid and various clubs in England have long been touted, with the lifelong Leeds United fan known to be keen on both England and Spain. And though his release clause does not activate until 2022, BVB might miss out on the UEFA Champions League altogether in their current form.
Could that encourage the club to seek bids for both Haaland and co-star Jadon Sancho? Given the damage the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the club, that certainly looks like it could become the case in the near future. Has Haaland, then, outgrown the Black and Yellows in a year?
Should Haaland move on in summer 2021?
There has been much discussion about the future of the Norwegian striker since the day he arrived in Germany. Seen as the ‘best development school in the world’, Dortmund runs the risk of becoming a club that is known for winning transfer fees, not winning titles. As such, there is a concern that the club might struggle to not only keep the talent it has, but bring in new talent to convince stars to stick around.
Given the club is currently under the coaching of Eden Terzic, too, there is no first-team manager to gain the full-time respect of the squad. Links to various coaches, including former Haaland coach Jesse Marsch, is sure to excite some fans – and players. Other names, such as Ralph Hasenhüttl, have also been suggested at the moment. If Dortmund wish to keep their A-tier talent, they will need to bring in a coach who does more than simply develop players for a big sale.
As one of the most well-supported clubs in the world, BVB is more than a simple finishing school for players. If they don’t re-find their purpose as a club that looks to win as much as grow talent, though, they could soon lose a golden crop of talent – chief among them Haaland.