Ralf Rangnick has admitted RB Leipzig wanted to sign Erling Haaland last January but were unable to, largely because he would not immediately have been part of their first-team plans.
Haaland was one of the hottest properties in Europe a year ago when he was impressing with Red Bull Salzburg, with who he scored 29 times in 27 games. This form had led to interest from clubs like Leipzig and Manchester United, but it was Borussia Dortmund who ultimately won the race for the 20-year-old.
Since moving to the Bundesliga side, Haaland has continued to be a smash hit, finishing the campaign with 16 goals in 18 games in all competitions for BVB, immediately establishing himself as a player to watch.
Dortmund won the race for his signature ahead of Salzburg’s sister club partly because of their willingness to play him – something that he would have had to have earned at Leipzig.
“From everything I know about him and his father, the main reason he moved there was that Dortmund could guarantee him a regular place,” former RB Leipzig sporting director Rangnick told MDR. “That wasn't so difficult because they didn't have a central striker apart from Paco Alcacer, who is half the size of Haaland and gets injured quickly and regularly.
“It was a great shame that he is the first player that RB Leipzig, since reaching the Bundesliga, have missed out on from Salzburg. What a shame it is for Leipzig, he would have suited us, our team and our style of play.”
Rangnick is, however, hopeful for his former club that a similar talent will not be allowed to be squander.
“Maybe with Alexander Sorloth, a Haaland Mk II will arrive at Leipzig,” he suggested.
Both clubs have lost early ground to European champions Bayern Munich in the early weeks of the season, with Dortmund beaten by 2-0 by Augsburg on Saturday while Leipzig were only able to muster a draw against Bayer Leverkusen. Meanwhile, FCB, who face Hoffenheim on Sunday, started their campaign in ominous fashion as they defeated Schalke 8-0.
Leipzig finished third in the Bundesliga last season, 16 points behind cham