Leeds came close to signing Haaland in 2017 but couldn’t afford £4m price tag

Borussia Dortmund phenomenon Erling Haaland once came close to joining Leeds United back in 2017, according to reports.

The Norwegian was born in Leeds due to his dad, Alfe-Inge Haaland, playing for the club between 1997 and 2000 and is a well-documented Leeds fan himself.

Haaland, 21, has become a world class level striker since joining Dortmund in 2020 and has already notched a remarkable 51 Bundesliga goals in 52 appearances.

But the clinical forward powerhouse’s career could have been very different if he had opted to make a move to England three years before, as claimed by agent Hayden Evans.

Speaking on The Athletic’s The Phil Hay Show, Evans said: "He was at Molde, around about 17 [years old], and he was ripping it up but also fervently following Leeds United.

"We spoke to Victor [Orta , Leeds' sporting director] and said, 'Look, I can bring Erling to Leeds and the rest will be over to you.'


"The best proof you can have [that a player wants to join] is to physically bring a player into the club, so we said we can do that. He said, 'Absolutely, of his age he's the number one in the world that anyone would want. If you can bring him to Leeds , we'll do the rest.'

"We brought Alfie and Erling over to stay at Oulton Hall, which had been like a second home for Alfie when he first came to Leeds. We got them in, we're talking about Leeds United, took him to meet Victor, [and] Victor already had the Leeds United shirt already made up with 'Haaland' on the back.

"What was impressive about them at the time was he said, 'Let's go to the training ground, that's what the boy wants to see. Elland Road is Elland Road, he loves it – he's a Leeds United fan – but as a footballer we want to talk football.'

"They were in the middle of a first-team session and [Thomas] Christiansen at the time stopped the session and came over to Erling, hugged him and talked about football – that went really well – and Christiansen was impressive, frankly.

"He was like, 'Erling, let these guys sort everything out. We'll see you in two weeks' time, fingers crossed and all of this [stuff].'”

But unfortunately for Leeds, who were a Championship side at the time, Molde’s asking price put the club off what might have been a historic transfer in the long-run.

Evans added: "It went quite well, we went back, but the bottom line was that [Molde] wanted around four million pounds. Leeds were not in the stable [financial] position they are in now and he was not going to play, even the talent he was, he was not going to play first-team football at that age.

Do you think Haaland would have reached his current heights at Leeds? Let us know in the comments section.

"It was seen as just a step too far for a player at that time who would only play [for the] under-23s, so we were back at Oulton Hall, it was all okay, [but then] Alfie opened up and said, 'I'll be honest with you, next week we're going to Juventus, who want him.'

"Victor being Victor thought there's a way around this – he would contact Juventus because he knew the guys there and do a deal with them where he would be loaned back to Leeds, developed at Leeds United, with an option [to buy] him and all that, but it never quite worked.

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"At Christmas time, [Leeds] played QPR away and – it was around his birthday or Christmas – he wanted, as his present, to be with the Leeds United fans in the stand behind the goal, and that actually happened.

"There was a lot of truth about everything that went on and unfortunately then money talked. [Mino] Raiola came in and made the family a massive offer because he had a whole track of future transfers, clubs ready for everybody to earn fortunes with, and the rest is history."

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