Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United had to defend their own interests when negotiating a transfer for Erling Haaland, after the teenage sensation’s debut hat-trick for Borussia Dortmund.
Old Trafford looked a likely destination for the 19-year-old in the January transfer window, but United have been left red-faced with Haaland immediately taking to life in the Bundesliga instead – just as Solskjaer has become desperate for a striker.
It was claimed at the time that United had backed out of the deal for financial reasons, rather than having been rejected.
“It is important that we use common sense," Solskjaer told reporters ahead of United's game with Burnley on Wednesday.
"There are other things too when you sign players, that you have to keep in control. You can't give agents the control by giving buyout clauses and stuff.
"That has been touted around, that is for me, we have to be in control."
Haaland came off the bench to make his Dortmund debut against Augsburg, and had a hat-trick to his name within 23 minutes.
Meanwhile, United have lost Marcus Rashford to a potentially season-ending injury leaving Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood as their only options up front.
Solskjaer’s most recent statement is likely to irk Haaland’s agent, Mino Raiola, who disputed United’s claims following the transfer.
He told the Telegraph: “I do not know if Manchester United are briefing this but if they are then they are covering their own loss and that I find strange and disappointing.
“The club that had the most direct contact with him was United.
“Clearly he felt that at this moment it was not the right step in his career. There is nothing against Manchester United or Ole.
“If he wanted to go to Manchester United I would have been obliged to take him to Manchester United, but he did not.
“It was not about the economics. It is just the player chose Borussia Dortmund at this stage of his career.”
Haaland himself has echoed this sentiment.
"They just went direct and said, 'We need you up front, we like your playing style and we want to have you here',” he said.
"I liked how they spoke to me then and that's what triggered me [to sign]. I just felt that me and Dortmund was a good match."