Teenager Erling Haaland is a Star On the Rise
European giants are reportedly keen on the RB Salzburg striker.
Red Bull Salzburg striker Erling Haaland might be the hottest young player in Europe right now.
The 19-year-old's move from Molde to the Austrian side did not make headlines in January 2017. A modest fee of €5 million for a player with 20 goals from 50 games did not make a splash.
But since joining Salzburg the Norwegian has taken his game to new levels and his days in Austria already seem to be numbered.
Breaking a World Cup record
The first most football fans heard of Haaland was during this year's Under-20 FIFA World Cup.
Playing for Norway, Haaland hit an amazing nine goals in a crushing defeat of Honduras. The gulf in class was clear in that game, but this term Haaland has shown he is the real deal.
This term, Haaland has hit 11 goals in eight league games for Salzburg. He also scored a hat-trick in a cup win at Parndorf in the early weeks of the season.
Salzburg manager Jesse Marsch thinks Haaland can look forward to a bright future.
"In every game he's played in, he's been dangerous around the goal," he said. "I think he's an important player for us, he's still so young and as long as he keeps his mentality straight and keeps focused on all the right things ... I think the sky's the limit for him."
Champions League treble puts Haaland's name up in lights
Making his UEFA Champions League debut against Genk in September, Haaland netted three goals all before the half-time interval.
He was completely unstoppable in that match, so it was a surprise when he was named on the bench by Marsch for Salzburg's next group game, away to Liverpool.
When the defending European champions raced into a 3-0 lead in the first half, it was Haaland who helped inspire a turnaround by netting the equaliser moments after his introduction as a substitute.
Liverpool ultimately went on to win the game thanks to Mohamed Salah's strike, but Haaland had again shone on a big stage. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was among those impressed.
"Wonderful player, very young, very confident, very quick," Klopp said after Haaland had tested his Reds defence. "Looks very clear-minded, focused on the pitch. A proper threat."
What's next for the teenage talent?
Salzburg will surely not be able to hold on to Haaland for too much longer.
Clubs are increasingly willing to fork out massive amounts for the best young players.
And with 18 goals in 11 appearances in all competitions, Haaland is in that bracket now.
Joao Felix and Matthijs de Ligt both moved for big money this year and Haaland could be the next teenager to switch clubs for a large transfer fee.
Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United are all reportedly interested in Haaland.
He might well have his pick of the top teams from around Europe and will be able to take advice from his father, the former Leeds United and Norway midfielder Alfe-Inge Haaland.
A more modest move is not out of the question, however. Salzburg's close links with Bundesliga side RB Leipzig could become the key to his future.
Both Leipzig and Salzburg are owned by drinks giant Red Bull and moves between the two clubs are very common.
Haaland might just see the Bundesliga outfit as the ideal next stepping stone for his career.