Dortmund chief has ‘proof’ all-about-him Haaland was a dressing room ‘burden’

·3-min read
Erling Haaland celebrates his goal Credit: PA Images
Erling Haaland celebrates his goal Credit: PA Images

Erling Haaland was a “burden” for Borussia Dortmund and sporting director Sebastian Kehl has “proof”.

Haaland left Dortmund for Manchester City this summer for £51m having scored 86 goals in 89 games for the Bundesliga side.

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And the striker’s outstanding goalscoring has continued with Pep Guardiola’s side, for whom he’s already scored 12 goals in seven games in all competitions.

Haaland spent two and a half seasons with Dortmund having joined in December 2019 from RB Salzburg for £17m.

His stay with the German side bore fruit in terms of his goalscoring contributions, but he appeared always to be on the cusp of leaving the club with transfer speculation never far away.

And Kehl claims the 22-year-old had become a “burden” by the end of his stay at the Westfalenstadion, as evidenced by their displays this term without him.

“As much as we have always appreciated Erling and the success he has had with our shirt, in the end the matter had definitely become a burden, both in the dressing room and for the club,” he told Sport Bild.

“In general, for the whole environment, it was just him. The timing of the sale was right, both for us and for City. The fact that our first 10 goals this season have been scored by 10 different players proves it.”

Kehl also believes Haaland’s departure has benefitted the squad as a whole going into this season.

“I would have liked to have been certain (about the Norwegian’s departure) a little earlier, because that issue limited our preparation.

“Without him, we have the possibility to trust the other players. The fact that our first ten competitive goals have been scored by ten different players shows that pretty well.”

Haaland will come up against his former club on Wednesday in the Champions League as Man City host the Bundeliga side at the Etihad.

Rio Ferdinand says Haaland has the “fear factor” after the Norwegian’s brace against Sevilla on Tuesday.

“When you haven’t got that threat and I’m not discrediting like a Jesus, who is a threat, but there is a difference in I think between the levels of threat and the levels of fear certain players give you,” Ferdinand said.

“When there’s that fear factor that he has right now and he’s going to continue to have, that attracts defenders – and two people.

“A lot of defenders will go ‘I can’t do this on my own’ and in the training room before the game will be going to their teammates ‘listen if he gets me in a one vs one, you get over quick, you get over quick’.

“Whereas some players when you get one vs one you stay where you are, you are confident you can deal with him. There’s not going to be many who say that about Erling Haaland.”

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