Manchester City staff ‘have been cracking jokes about how they paid less for £51m Erling Haaland than rivals United did for £52m Fred’ – and young superstar ‘dismissed out of hand months ago’ interest in him from Old Trafford
Manchester City staff have reportedly been cracking jokes at the expense of their local rivals Manchester United after securing the services of Erling Haaland for less than the fee the Red Devils splashed out on Fred.
The reigning Premier League champions confirmed on Tuesday they had agreed a deal with Borussia Dortmund to sign the Norwegian on a five-year deal worth around £385,000 a week.
City announced announced that the Norway international will join Pep Guardiola’s squad for next season after beating Real Madrid to his signature.
Man City staff reportedly joked over paying less for Erling Haaland than United did for Fred
The Red Devils splashed out £52million for midfield flop Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018
The club were expected to part with £63million to trigger Haaland’s release clause but have secured the striker’s services for £12m less.
City now believe they have signed a player who could be worth upwards of €200m (£171m) for an enormous bargain, according to ESPN.
Staff at the club have even reportedly cracked jokes at the expense of their local rivals Manchester United over the deal.
They are said to have quipped that the £51m they have paid to bring Haaland to the Etihad is less than the £52m fee United splashed out to sign midfielder Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018. Fred has since been one of the main players regularly criticised amid United’s ongoing descent into mid-table mediocrity.
To rub salt in the wound, the Red Devils had once believed they were so close to bringing Haaland to Old Trafford that they had begun looking into travel options for the youngster.
But ESPN claim that Haaland’s camp dismissed the interest from United ‘out of hand months ago’.
Haaland’s father, Alf-Inge, was said to have a good relationship with United’s interim boss Ralf Rangnick, who had previously worked as director of football at Red Bull Salzburg, Haaland’s former side.
Meanwhile, Alf-Inge is also a close friend and former international team-mate of former United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was sacked from his role at Old Trafford in November.
But ultimately the former Norway international and City player negotiated the personal terms for his son’s move to United’s rivals, alongside lawyer Rafaela Pimenta.
United had previously looked set to secure the Norwegian’s signature in 2020 but Borussia Dortmund swooped in and sealed a move for him in the January window.
United reportedly also had a chance to snatch up the 21-year-old in 2018 but a mix up in time zones between Norway and England ultimately was the club’s downfall and Red Bull Salzburg secured the deal.
The decision to snub the Red Devils is said to have been based on the fact that they are no longer competitive in the Premier League and Champions League, with Haaland weighing up interested clubs on the basis of their ‘sporting project’.
Pep Guardiola’s (right) side parted with £12million less than the expected release clause
Haaland previously worked alongside United interim boss Ralf Rangnick at Red Bull Slazburg
In addition to United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain had all been linked to Haaland but City ‘ticked all the boxes’ and sealed the move for the prodigious forward.
Haaland was afforded time off by Dortmund on Monday and was understood to have undergone medical tests in Brussels, with City legend Vincent Kompany reportedly playing a key role in arranging the medical.
Sportsmail understands a deal between City and Haaland’s camp was completed last week after first reporting last month that the club had agreed terms with the Norway international’s representatives.
You heard it here first: Sportsmail’s Jack Gaughan and Craig Hope broke the news of City’s deal for Haaland back on March 11 of this year
The Norwegian’s move to City was reportedly made on the basis on the ‘sporting project’
Haaland is one of the most prolific goalscorers in world football and has netted 85 times in 88 appearances for Dortmund during two-and-a-half years there.
He will bid farewell to the Dortmund supporters after their final Bundesliga game of the season against Hertha Berlin on Saturday.
Those at City are also satisfied that they completed the transfer in plenty of time and with minimal fuss to ensure that he could make his first appearances in City colours during their pre-season tour of the United States with a match against Mexicans Club America scheduled for July 21 in Houston.