Scout who discovered Erling Haaland reveals Arsenal watched superstar striker before making big transfer error

·2-min read
 (APA/AFP via Getty Images)
(APA/AFP via Getty Images)

Erling Haaland could have been an Arsenal player with the Premier League club among several to pass up the striker having scouted him as a teenager.

John Vik, who until recently was Molde’s long-term chief scout, has revealed the interest from the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and the Gunners in signing the Norwegian superstar before he left for RB Salzburg for a measly £3.5million.

After unsuccessful trials at Copenhagen and Hoffenheim, Vik claims that Haaland was seen by English scouts as a lumbering target man as he developed on and off the pitch at Molde.

He told The Athletic: “There has always been this perception with some English clubs that a striker needs to look a certain way, and that a centre-half needs to look a certain way, and you need a certain frame for a certain role.

“When they were seeing a big striker like Erling, they were seeing a target man and I think they forgot to look at what else he could do.

“Liverpool could have got him. Arsenal could have got him. Everyone was there to watch him but these clubs were seeing a No9 who was tall and broad and, ‘Oh, he’s going to be a target man’. I couldn’t for the life of me see why they had narrowed him down that way.

“I didn’t like him with his back towards the goal and, at the time, he couldn’t really head the ball. I liked it when he turned round, when he chased into pockets, when he ran between the lines, his movement in the box. He didn’t want to hold the ball up, he just wanted to turn and go.

“There will be a lot of clubs kicking themselves because we can all see now what he is good at.”