Monday, January 18, 2021

Haaland should copy Lewandowski and continue developing at Dortmund – Watzke

SoccerNews in La Liga 4 Jan 2021

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Erling Haaland should follow the example of Robert Lewandowski and stay at Borussia Dortmund until he is “world class”, according to Hans-Joachim Watzke. 

Striker Haaland has been a revelation since joining the Bundesliga club, scoring 16 goals in the second half of the 2019-20 season following his January arrival from Salzburg.

The Norway international has continued to be prolific during the current campaign – he has 17 goals in 15 appearances in all competitions – and, unsurprisingly, that has led to speculation he could leave in the near future.

Josep Maria Minguella, advisor to Barcelona presidential candidate Emili Rousaud, had claimed a deal was lined up to take the 20-year-old to Camp Nou if they triumph in the upcoming election. 

However, Mino Raiola – Haaland’s agent – rejected the claim, and Dortmund CEO Watzke has urged the player to remain at his current club until ready for the next step.

“Erling and Mino Raiola know what they have in us. I can only advise him to do it like Robert Lewandowski,” Watzke told Kicker.

Lewandowski had four successful seasons with BVB – including winning the Bundesliga title twice – before moving on to Bayern Munich in 2014, by which time he had established himself as one of the leading strikers in the game.

Watzke believes Haaland can “mature into an absolute world-class player in Dortmund”, with the club aware that – eventually – the talented forward will likely want to move on elsewhere.

He added: “It is clear that if Erling should leave us at some point, he will only go to an even bigger club, so many are not considered. 

“If you go to a club like – just to name an example – Real Madrid, you have to be world class.”

Haaland was injured prior to the mid-season break in Germany but was back in action on Saturday, playing 81 minutes of Dortmund’s 2-0 win over Wolfsburg.

He is averaging an impressive 1.23 goals per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga this term, though that is still behind Lewandowski (1.57), who has scored 19 in 13 appearances for the reigning champions.

That works out as a goal every 57 minutes for the Poland international, whose shot conversion rate (66 per cent) is also slightly better than Haaland’s mark of 59 per cent. They are the only duo to reach double figures for goals in the competition so far this season, Andre Silva and Wout Weghorst next on the list with nine.

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