Erling Haaland, Jude Bellingham AND Declan Rice?! Man Utd's failed transfer targets revealed as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also explains why Harry Kane deal never materialised

  • Solskjaer reveals missed transfers
  • Includes Bellingham and Haaland
  • United still struggling under Ten Hag

WHAT HAPPENED? Former Manchester United boss Solskjaer has revealed a list of football stars - including Jude Bellingham and Erling Haaland - that he wanted to sign while in charge at Old Trafford, but ultimately couldn't get over the line. Solskjaer was sacked in November 2021 after a disastrous run of results, and has lamented the club's failure to bring in his top targets.

WHAT THEY SAID: "Erling Haaland, before he made his Salzburg debut. Declan Rice, who wouldn’t have cost what he did in the summer," Solskjaer told The Athletic when asked to name the players he was unable to land. "We discussed Moises Caicedo, but we felt we needed players ready for there and then. Brighton are very good at letting players come from abroad and find their feet for a year and a half. At United, you don’t have that luxury and that has cost the club loads of players.

"We wanted Jude Bellingham badly — he’s a Man United player, but I respect he chose [Borussia] Dortmund. That was probably sensible. But it’s why I respect Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Dan James and Jadon [Sancho]. Young players prepared to come into a team that wasn’t 100 per cent there like it was when I arrived. I would have signed [Harry] Kane every day of the week and my understanding was that he wanted to come. But the club didn’t have the budget with the financial constraints from Covid-19, there was no bottomless pit."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Manchester City star Haaland worked with Solskjaer at Molde during his time at the club from 2017 to 2019, prior to his move to Red Bull Salzburg. He went on to enjoy a prolific spell at Dortmund before moving to City for £51m in the summer of 2022, and became a treble winner in his first season at the Etihad Stadium while breaking a number of goalscoring records.

Meanwhile, Rice, Bellingham and Caicedo secured big money transfers to Arsenal, Real Madrid and Chelsea respectively during the most recent transfer window, while United brought in Mason Mount, Rasmus Hojlund, and Andre Onana as their three biggest summer signings. Despite those additions, United have made a poor start to the 2023-24 season under Erik ten Hag, winning just two of their opening five Premier League games.


Ole Gunnar SolskjaerGettyErling Haaland Man City 2023-24Getty Images


WHAT NEXT FOR UNITED? Ten Hag's men will be aiming to bounce back from a shocking 3-1 home defeat against Brighton when they face Bayern Munich in their opening Champions League group stage fixture on Wednesday.