German side Borussia Dortmund made a great move when they got a deal done for in-demand striker Erling Haaland from RB Salzburg. Even though they were one of the clubs in the race for the wonderkid, Manchester United and Juventus were considered the frontrunners to complete this deal.
Well, the Black and Yellows did it in the end, and now we learned how they put the pieces together to land Haaland. They used their own players, Puma's CEO and a structured career development plan during a three-year scouting mission to convince Erling Haaland to join the club, passing on RB Leipzig, Juventus and Manchester United in the process.
According to The Athletic, the Bundesliga giants first scouted Haaland in 2016. Ever since that, midfielder Thomas Delaney 'coordinated a charm offensive' to convince the teenager to make the move to the Westfalenstadion.
The Norwegian CEO of Puma, Bjorn Gulden, was also involved in this process, trying to encourage Haaland to join Borussia Dortmund. Moreover, and crucially, BVB formulated a development plan for Haaland, something that no other club did, unlike Manchester United, who sent Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to speak to him.
Talking to The Athletic about Dortmund's scouting process with Haaland, chief scout Markus Pilawa said: "There was a debate whether it made sense to bring him into the club for the academy but he chose to go to Red Bull Salzburg in 2018.
"It made evaluating him regularly easier for us.
"There’s never a guarantee that someone scoring in Austria will continue at the same rate in the Bundesliga and deal with the higher tempo and intensity, but there are factors that determine the probabilities of success.
"We look at the physical development and his personality. How does he deal with setbacks and mistakes? What’s his body language?
"Later, when things become more concrete, you try to scout a player’s character off the pitch as well, looking at the way he conducts himself in meetings and so on."
They put a lot of effort and time into this. Three years after they first spotted the player, he finally made the move to the club that’s been known for the way they develop their players. Haaland could join the likes of Mario Gotze and Jadon Sancho and become a great player in Dortmund before taking his talents to a bigger side.