'Haaland knew exactly what he wanted' - Salzburg were convinced of Dortmund's star's talent 'right from the start', says sporting director

Erling Haaland Dortmund 2020-21
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The man who helped lure the Norwegian striker to the Austrian club has offered an insight into his drive for success as a youngster

Red Bull Salzburg were convinced of Erling Haaland's talent "right from the start", according to their sporting director Christoph Freund, who says the Borussia Dortmund star "knew exactly what he wanted".

Salzburg paid a modest fee of £7 million ($9m) to bring in Haaland from Molde in January 2019.

The young forward signed a five-year deal with the Austrian club, and quickly proved to be one of the bargain signings of the decade.

Haaland scored 29 goals in 27 appearances for Salzburg, including eight in the Champions League, attracting attention from a number of top clubs across Europe in the process.

Dortmund won the race for his signature ahead of the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid , wrapping up a €20m (£18m/$23m) deal in the last January transfer window.

The 20-year-old has since enhanced his reputation by hitting 24 goals in 27 outings for Dortmund, and the man who initially noticed his abilities while he was on Molde's books has not been surprised by his success on the biggest stage.

Freund told Goal and Spox of Salzburg's long-winded pursuit of Haaland: "The fee for Haaland was significantly lower back then. It was a very long process for Erling. We first noticed him in 2016 at a game for the Norwegian U16 national team. 

"Because it was difficult to get recordings of his games, we had it filmed. He convinced us right from the start, so the scout contacted him and his father. 

"It is a great advantage to be in personal contact with a talent and their guardians before any other potentially interested club.

"That was in 2018. He seemed very focused, intelligent and self-confident to me. He knew exactly what he wanted."

Freund went on to insist that Haaland's departure did not have a determinantal effect on the Salzburg squad, with selling on high-quality younger players considered to be a big part of the club's policy for growth.

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"Erling was not only a special story in this respect. That doesn't hurt at all, it makes us proud because it's part of our concept," he added.

"The player can take the next step, we get income through a transfer, which we can invest in scouting and new talent, among other things. 

"In addition, there is again a free place in the squad that the next talent can take. It is a confirmation for us that we are on the right path."