Liverpool could have signed Manchester City striker Erling Haaland when he was still a teenager.
That’s according to former Molde chief scout John Vik. Speaking to The Athletic, Vik outlined how many of England’s top clubs, including Liverpool, missed out on the 22-year-old phenomenon when he was only seventeen.
“I think they (the English scouts) looked at him as a target man because he was so big,” said the scout. “I kept telling them, ‘He’s not a target man – if you’re going to judge him that way, you’re going to be disappointed.’
“Liverpool could have got him. Arsenal could have got him. Everyone was there to watch him but these clubs were seeing a No 9 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.
“There will be a lot of clubs kicking themselves because we can all see now what he is good at.”
Liverpool miss their chance with Haaland
After signing for Molde in 2017, Haaland’s career took off like a rocket. Within three years he was joining Borussia Dortmund as one of the most promising teenagers in world football.
Two years on, he’s now obliterating the Premier League with City. Since his £51m signing this summer, the Norwegian has already scored 10 goals in just six league games.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that he would have followed the same trajectory had he joined Liverpool in 2017. But given his natural abilities, it feels a pretty sure bet that he would have.
Still, you can’t win them all.
Instead of pining for the players they could have had, it’s up to Liverpool to go out and identify the next Erling Haaland.
Picking up young players from European leagues has been very hit and miss for Liverpool. It’s easy to see how reservations over Haaland could have festered.
Since then, the Reds have tended to focus of cherry-picking the best young talent from these shores instead. Exciting prospects like Ben Doak and Trent Kone-Doherty have arrived and could become first-team players in the years ahead.
They’d do well to have anything like the impact in the game that Haaland has had, though. Certainly, the striker is one that got away for Liverpool.