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According to former Millwall goalkeeper and Everton scout Bryan King, there was a mix-up in negotiations that allowed Red Bull Salzburg to pounce.
United looked like they were winning the race for his signature and as per The Mirror, a United official was told to call Jim Solbakken, the man representing Haaland at the time, to help thrash out a deal for around £3 million.
9am was the time agreed but there was a misunderstanding regarding the one hour time difference and it meant Austrian side Salzburg rang in at the correct hour and got in first.
Everton were also interested and they too missed out.
"It was just simply a lack of communication, a freak situation with no one to blame," King said.
"Obviously looking back Everton will also be disappointed now."
Haaland, now 20, has established himself as one of the deadliest strikers in world football, banging in a staggering 43 goals in 44 games for Borussia Dortmund.
All the elite clubs in Europe appear to be monitoring his situation, but Haaland, who has super agent Mino Raiola working for him, won't come on the cheap.
"It's going to cost anyone around £100 million to buy him now," King added.
"Over the last three years he has made tremendous strides. His finishing power is a lot like Harry Kane.
"When he gets it around the box Harry makes sure he rifles into the net. Erling is the same. He is an old fashioned centre forward who loves to score goals."
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær signed Haaland for Molde in 2017 and gave him his professional debut.
The Norwegian recently revealed he remains in contract with his compatriot, amid talk United are in for him.
Solskjær: "Zlatan has shown what belief and confidence can do to you, there's so many kids who have him as a role model. I know Erling Haaland for example who is playing for Dortmund, I know he is looking at Zlatan and learnt that behaviour and he has the same mentality. #MUFC pic.twitter.com/sbC6mY2ayl- United Zone (@ManUnitedZone_) February 26, 2021
"When you have had kids and players through as a coach, you follow them and I keep in touch with Erling," he said in a press conference, as per The Guardian.
"It's great to see him become the player he has become and [how] he works to improve all the time. He's a Dortmund player - we just wish him well there and let's see what life will bring later on.
"You know I can't speak about Erling because he's at Borussia Dortmund, and it's disrespectful to talk too much about it, apart from that I know him and I speak to him. Who wasn't interested in him a year ago? Everybody would say you would take the best players in the world and Erling is a top player."
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