Manchester United’s embarrassing mix-up which cost them dearly in the race to sign Erling Haaland was down to a John Murtough blunder.
The Red Devils were closing in on the signing of then-Molde striker Haaland in the summer of 2018 only for confusion over different time zones to thwart their pursuit.
As originally reported by Mirror Sport last month, Old Trafford chiefs arranged a 9am call with the player’s agent, Jim Solbakken, to finalise a deal worth £3million plus add-ons.
But they failed to communicate the call would take place at 9am British Summer Time rather than Norwegian time – and they rung one hour late to find Haaland had already signed for RB Salzburg.
The United representative responsible for the gaffe was previously unknown, but Football Insider claims the club’s new Football Director was the culprit.
The report cites a source involved in the deal for Haaland which asserts Murtough was the person supposed to make the call to Solbakken.
But the communication mishap has not hampered Murtough’s rise up the United hierarchy.
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He was appointed the club’s first ever football director last week and is keen to have a second go at signing Haaland and will now be playing an increasingly crucial role in the club’s transfer affairs.
Murtough and United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are both huge admirers of the 20-year-old, who has been in scintillating form this season with 29 goals in 26 games for Borussia Dortmund.
Solskjaer managed Haaland at Molde and hopes his personal relationship with the youngster can help get the deal over the line with Haaland the club’s No.1 target as they seek a new No.9.
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In an eye-opening recent interview, Solskjaer confirmed he is still in touch with Haaland and declared his interest in the player.
The Red Devils boss added: “Everyone would say you take the best players in the world. Erling is a top player.”
Haaland has a £75million release clause which comes into force next year. In the meantime, Dortmund will demand £150million for their star man.
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