Manchester United have withdrawn from the contest to sign Erling Haaland, sources said ESPN, with the club preparing to focus on other offensive alternatives after learning the Borussia Dortmund striker prefers a summer transfer to Real Madrid.
Haaland, 21, is poised to depart Dortmund at the conclusion of the season after the Bundesliga club activated a €75 million release clause in his contract this summer.
United were unable to capture Haaland from FC Salzburg when he joined Dortmund in January 2020, despite a long-standing desire stretching all the way back to his emergence at Molde as a 16-year-old in Norway.
According to ESPN, key people at Old Trafford think Haaland will join Real Madrid this summer and that United are powerless to persuade either the player or his advisors to change their decisions.
With Edinson Cavani out of contract and expected to leave at the end of the season and Cristiano Ronaldo turning 37 next month, United are looking at alternative possibilities to fill the void left by Cavani and Ronaldo.
ESPN reported in December that Real Madrid are interested in signing both Haaland and PSG striker Kylian Mbappe this summer, however the LaLiga champions will face stiff competition from Manchester City for Haaland, who will want a salary of £30 million per year at whatever club he joins.
Despite City’s desire and capacity to match Real’s financial offer to Haaland, the Premier League champions behind Real in the race to sign the Norway international.
United’s chances of acquiring Haaland have been seriously harmed by the instability at OldTrafford, but insiders have stated that the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager in November — Solskjaer handed Haaland his professional debut at Molde — has not helped to their dwindling aspirations.
According to sources, while the Haaland camp admires the work of United interim manager Ralf Rangnick at previous clubs, the prospect of signing for United during a period of transition and potentially being eliminated from the Champions League has made the 20-time English champions an unappealing proposition in comparison to the other teams in the race to sign Haaland an unappealing proposition.
United are aware that Haaland does not regard them as a realistic option in the current climate and are concentrating their efforts on the appointment of a permanent manager rather than pursuing a player who wishes to go.