Erling Braut Haaland – everyone in the football world seems to have their attention focused on him. Why wouldn’t they? At just 19, he has already made a name for himself, independent of his father, a former Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Manchester City player, Alf Inge Haaland’s legacy.
Despite having played just 59 minutes in his first month with Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, he successfully bagged the Player of The Month award. Truly a force to be reckoned with, he even scored a terrific brace for BVB against Paris Saint Germain in the Champions League. His time with RB Salzburg is just as brilliant, as was with his previous club, Molde FK.
Haaland’s move to Die Schwarzgelben came as a shock to many, who speculated that his next destination would be a Premier League club, post the remainder of the season with RB Salzburg. However, what may come as an even bigger shock is that Celtic FC were potentials to sign the young wonder, but missed out on nabbing a contract with him.
Erling Braut Haaland put up remarkable displays at Molde FK as well as for Norway’s national youth sides, from the young age of 15. According to reports that have emerged, Celtic had their scouts keeping an eye on Haaland ever since his time with FK Byrne. In fact, Haaland was heavily linked with a move to Celtic, Hoffenheim as well as Liverpool back in June of 2016. He even attended a trial at Hoffenheim, but failed to impress the then head coach of the club, Julian Nagelsmann. However, he successfully completed a transfer to Molde FK shortly after.
It was 2 years later, when Molde went up against Glenavon in the Europa League, that Haaland put up a performance that simply could not be ignored. It was then that Celtic, along with numerous other European clubs like Juventus, Manchester United, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid, again began looking at the possibility of signing the young powerhouse.
Another club in the Scottish Premiership that showed a keen interest in Erling Braut Haaland was Heart of Midlothian FC. However, both clubs missed out on the opportunity to sign Haaland, as RB Salzburg announced their 5 year deal with the player just three days after Haaland’s fantastic performance against the Hibernians in the Europa League.
Celtic could very well have used a striker like Erling Braut Haaland, especially considering Leigh Griffiths’ home goal drought, broken only recently in Celtic’s clash with Kilmarnock. Given that he is 29 years old, it is only plausible that Celtic look for younger players to sustain the club’s performance. Moreover, Odsonne Edouard is currently linked strongly to a move to Newcastle FC.
It is undisputed that Celtic are currently dominating the Premiership table with 76 points, 12 more than second placed club Rangers, who have a game in hand and 34 more than third placed club Motherwell. They will undoubtedly be among the top 6 clubs as the second phase of the league approaches, well on their way to a possible 9th straight Premiership title.
One place that Celtic have failed to shine despite doing remarkably well in the domestic Scottish league is the Champions League. In the third qualifying round, they were beaten by CFR Club, a Romanian side. In fact, the farthest they have made it since 2013, the Premiership’s inception, is the group stage which they managed to reach in the 2017/18 season. A player like Haaland, hungry for goals ann quick to get on the ball could have been a huge advantage for Celtic, as he clearly proved with his hattrick in RB Salzburg’s 6-2 win against Belgian side Genk.
Did Celtic miss out on someone who could have played an extremely pivotal role in reversing their UCL fortunes, or can they apply their domestic winning formula successfully to the Champions League as well?