Man Utds Martial decision could play straight into the hands of Haaland

Ralf Rangnick wants to bring Erling Haaland to Manchester United – and he might just have an extra incentive to lure the Borussia Dortmund star to Old Trafford.

Haaland is very likely to leave Dortmund in the summer due to a release clause in his contract which will reportedly allow other clubs to sign him for £64million (€75m).

The 21-year-old is on the wishlist of just about every major European club, having scored a staggering 76 goals in 75 games for Dortmund over the last two years.

United are not perturbed by competition from the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

According to theManchester Evening News, Rangnick is driving United’s interest in Haaland and he could be helpful in negotiations in the summer.

Rangnick knows the Norwegian striker’s father, Alf-Inge Haaland, from when he was Red Bull sporting director and oversaw Haaland's move to Red Bull Salzburg from Molde in 2018.

The 63-year-old, who is expected to move into a consultancy role at the end of the season, has reportedly already spoken to Alf-Inge about the possibility of his son signing for United.

If Haaland has considered that prospect then he may well have considered which shirt number he could wear at Old Trafford.

While Haaland wears the No 23 when on international duty with Norway and has previously worn 17, 19 and 30 at club level, he currently wears the No 9 shirt for Dortmund.

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As you might expect, given its significance, that number is currently taken at United – but it might not be for much longer.

Anthony Martial is the incumbent, but recent developments means he could soon be on his way out of United.

Martial has made just 10 appearances this season, six of which have come from the substitutes’ bench.

He is behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani in the pecking order andis keen to secure a move away from Old Trafford.

"Anthony wishes to leave the club in January," his agent Philippe Lamboley told Sky Sports recently.

"He just needs to play. He doesn’t want to stay in January and I will speak to the club soon."

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United are ready to listen to offers for Martial, who still has two and a half years left to run on his £250,000 per week contract.

ESPNreported recently that United are yet to receive a single serious enquiry about Martial’s availability, but his status at the club should encourage Haaland.

Even if United can’t find any buyers willing to take on the 26-year-old’s wage demands, they could repeat a previous move to give Haaland his shirt number.

Although Martial took the No. 9 shirt when he signed for the club from Monaco in a £36m deal in 2015, he hasn’t held it ever since. That is because he was forced to give it up and move to No 11 in 2016 when Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived.

While he has since reclaimed his favourite number it would not be surprising to see a similar move enacted if Haaland does sign in the summer and Martial is still at the club.

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