Erling Haaland has been backed to get even better ahead of Borussia Dortmund's DFL-Supercup showdown with Bayern Munich.

Haaland is Dortmund's outstanding star, having scored 62 goals in 61 games in all competitions since his debut for the club in January 2020.

Of players in Europe's top five leagues, only Bayern's Robert Lewandowski (74 in 63) has scored more in that time, while Haaland's shot conversion rate of 33.3 per cent is the best among those with 20 goals or more.

After a cup hat-trick at Wehen Wiesbaden and then a league double against Eintracht Frankfurt, Haaland's 2021-22 tally of five in two games already leads the way. His 15 shots represent another high, as does their expected goals value of 4.6.

Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann praised Haaland ahead of Tuesday's game against Dortmund but said Lewandowski's class was "proven over several years".

Meanwhile, Marco Rose, Nagelsmann's opposite number in the BVB dugout, suggested Haaland could yet get much better.

"Erling wants to be a complete player – he says that himself – and he's making clear progress," Rose said.

 

"He is still young and has so much potential for development. He knows that, too.

"Just imagine he takes full advantage of that, what a footballer he will become. We're working on that together."

Haaland also provided an assist against Frankfurt, with Thorgan Hazard the beneficiary. Hazard will miss the game against Bayern, however.

It is a match Dortmund enter ahead of Bayern in the Bundesliga, with the champions having drawn at Borussia Monchengladbach, and Rose is keen to send a message.

"Every game is a measuring stick. You should definitely try to win," he said.

"It's a prestige duel against Bayern and you can win a title – that's why we should try to win that. We want to show that we are there and ready for the season."

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann has hailed the "extraordinary" Erling Haaland, but says the Borussia Dortmund star has to maintain his form over several years to compare to Robert Lewandowski.

The two prolific goalscorers are expected to come face-to-face on Tuesday when Dortmund host Bayern at Signal Iduna Park in the 2021 DFL-Supercup, a trophy the Bundesliga champions have won in four of the last five campaigns.

Haaland enters the match on the back of a strong start to the season, having followed up a hat-trick against lower-league Wehen Wiesbaden in the DFB-Pokal with two goals and two assists in Saturday's 5-2 Bundesliga victory against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Norway international Haaland now has 62 goals in 61 appearances since making his BVB debut in January 2020, including 42 goals in 44 Bundesliga games for an average of 1.06 goals per 90 minutes in the competition.

Only ex-Dortmund man Lewandowski can better that return over the same period, scoring 57 goals from an identical number of appearances in the German top flight – an average of 1.35 per 90 minutes.

While Nagelsmann has been impressed by Haaland's incredible season-and-a-half in the Bundesliga, the recently appointed Bayern boss still thinks the 21-year-old has some way to go to match Lewandowski's consistency.

"Lewandowski has proven over several years now that he is a world-class striker," Nagelsmann said at Monday's pre-match news conference. "Erling hasn't been in the league that long, though his scoring rate is great.

"The other difference is age. Lewandowski has a lot more experience on his side than Haaland. In terms of similarities, they are both an unbelievable goal danger. But I am incredibly happy to have Lewandowski here."

 

The weekend win over Frankfurt was the first time Haaland has provided two assists in a single competitive game for Dortmund in his 19 months at the club.

Keeping Haaland off the scoresheet on Tuesday will be a huge task, but Nagelsmann is confident his players – including goalkeeper Manuel Neuer – are capable of doing so in the battle between last term's German cup and league winners.

"He is of course an excellent striker. Extraordinary. In addition to his goals, he is also robust and fast," Nagelsmann said. "We have to get close to him to prevent him from making runs in behind our defence.

"We have to be physically ready and be prepared to initiate the counter-press after we lose the ball so that quick passes up the other end of the field are prevented. We can't prevent that completely, but we still have the best goalkeeper in the world."

Nagelsmann has endured a difficult start to life as Bayern boss, not helped by a number of players returning late to training, with the reigning Bundesliga champions yet to win any of his five games in charge.

Bayern were held 1-1 by Borussia Monchengladbach in their first competitive game under Nagelsmann on Friday and the 34-year-old coach is eager to get off the mark with some silverware in midweek.

"I would like to sign for a win tomorrow and then go on and take the title," he said. "Dortmund have started the season well, whereas we're still waiting for that first win, but I wouldn't look into that too much.

"Of course this is an important match for us, but it's not necessarily important for the rest of the season. Both teams have a few injuries and the season is still young, but we are going there with the aim to win."

Nagelsmann also paid tribute to Bayern's all-time leading goalscorer Gerd Muller, who passed away at the weekend at the age of 75.

"My condolences to Gerd's family and friends," Nagelsmann said. "Yesterday was a sad day for everyone involved in the club. Gerd played a lot of great games and scored some great goals."

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique compared Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe to Brazilian great Ronaldo as he hailed Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

Mbappe and Haaland are two of the most in-demand players in the transfer market, with LaLiga giants Real Madrid reportedly interested in both.

PSG's Mbappe – entering the final year of his contract in Paris – has long been tipped to join Madrid, while Haaland has also been linked with Barca, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

Mbappe scored in PSG's 4-2 Ligue 1 win at home to Strasbourg on Saturday, having now either scored or assisted in seven consecutive matches in the competition (eight goals, four assists).

Haaland took his tally to 62 goals in 61 games for Dortmund after bagging a brace as the German giants opened their Bundesliga season with a 5-2 rout of Eintracht Frankfurt.

Pique was asked to pick between Mbappe and Haaland in an appearance on Twitch following Barca's 4-2 victory over Real Sociedad on Sunday, and he replied: "Mbappe and Haaland are different.

"One is very similar to Ronaldo Luis Nazario, who is Mbappe. Haaland is more powerful, stronger, he is a goal killer."

Barca kicked off the Lionel Messi-less era by seeing off Sociedad at Camp Nou in the opening game of the LaLiga season.

Messi – the club's all-time leading goalscorer – joined PSG after his contract expired, with Barca's financial difficulties forcing the six-time Ballon d'Or winner to leave.

"It was tough," Pique said on Messi's exit. "I have known him since I was 13 years old.

"He has made us all better. We have to accept it because it is reality. We will all step forward to be competitive."

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are not among the final nominees for the 2020-21 Champions League positional awards.

On Friday, UEFA announced the 12 players, three per position, who could win the individual prizes on August 26.

The 12 players each received the most points in each positional category following a jury vote. The jury comprised coaches from the 32 clubs that entered into the group stage last season, as well as 55 journalists representing UEFA's 55 member associations. Coaches could not vote for players from their own teams.

Messi came fourth in the poll for the best forwards, while Ronaldo did not make the top 10. Each player was eliminated at the last-16 stage, Barcelona losing to Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus to Porto.

Five of the 12 nominees are from Chelsea, who won their second Champions League by beating Manchester City in the final. Edouard Mendy, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, N'Golo Kante and Jorginho are all nominated.

City have three representatives – Ederson, Ruben Dias and Kevin De Bruyne – while beaten semi-finalists Real Madrid and PSG provide one each: Thibaut Courtois, and Kylian Mbappe.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, who finished as top scorer last season with 10, are the other nominees.

The winners of the best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder and forward prizes will be announced at the group-stage draw in Istanbul in two weeks' time.

Julian Nagelsmann has long seemed destined to be Bayern Munich coach, and the 34-year-old now has his chance after succeeding Hansi Flick.

He has a lot to live up to. Flick, in his 18-month tenure, Flick led Bayern to two Bundesliga titles, one DFB-Pokal, a Champions League triumph, Club World Cup glory, the DFL-Supercup and the UEFA Super Cup – a remarkable seven trophies.

While Nagelsmann settles into life in the hottest of coaching seats in Germany, his former team RB Leipzig will look to finally make a title challenge last, this time under new coach Jesse Marsch.

Borussia Dortmund scraped into the Champions League places thanks to a super run late in the season, and now Marco Rose will look to build on their DFB-Pokal success in his first season in charge.

Just what can we expect from each of Germany's big three in 2021-22?


Bayern Munich

Bayern ultimately claimed their ninth successive Bundesliga title with ease last term and Robert Lewandowski was once again the driving force. He had to wait until the last kick of the last day, but he finally broke Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record of 41 goals in a single campaign.

Unsurprisingly, Bayern scored the most goals in Germany's top tier in 2020-21, netting 99 times across their 34 fixtures. Their tally of 483 chances was also by far the most in the division, 54 ahead of second-ranked Leipzig (429) in that regard, though they conceded 44 times while the Leipzig defence under Nagelsmann was the stingiest, with only 32 goals conceded. 

Bayern averaged 65.39 per cent possession and had 1,304 touches in the opposition box, over 400 more than any other side.

However, Nagelsmann does have to contend with the loss of some players who have been crucial to Bayern's dominance. David Alaba has joined Real Madrid, while fellow stalwarts Javi Martinez and Jerome Boateng also left on free transfers.

Dayot Upamecano has made the same switch from Leipzig as Nagelsmann, and the young centre-back adds pace and dynamism to Bayern's backline. Other than that, the squad remains largely the same, with Sven Ulreich having returned after a spell at Hamburg, while Omar Richards arrived on a free transfer from Reading.

Even without much more in the way of incomings, it is difficult to see Bayern letting the chance to make it 10 titles in a row slip from their grasp.

 

Dortmund

Last season was a difficult campaign for Dortmund, but it was one which ultimately ended successfully. They clinched Champions League qualification and ran riot against Leipzig to lift the DFB-Pokal.

It was a fine parting gift from Edin Terzic, who took over on an interim basis after Lucien Favre was relieved of his duties, and now Rose – whose Borussia Monchengladbach team slumped in the back half of the season and missed out on Europe – will look to reshape Dortmund in his own way.

Renowned for attacking, front-foot football, Rose's style, if all goes to plan, is bound to be a hit with the Dortmund fans upon their return to Signal Iduna Park.

Dortmund may have sold Jadon Sancho, but they still have Norway sensation Erling Haaland, who scored 27 Bundesliga goals last season from 93 attempts, giving him a shot conversion rate of 29.03 per cent, the third-highest in the league out of players to have scored 10 or more times.

Donyell Malen has arrived as Sancho's replacement, and Rose has already been talking up the Netherlands youngster, while goalkeeper Gregor Kobel has arrived from Stuttgart. Like Bayern, Dortmund said goodbye to a club legend in the form of Lukasz Piszczek, but with Marco Reus, Thorgan Hazard, Malen and Haaland complemented by the likes of Julian Brandt and Jude Bellingham, there should be plenty of cause for optimism.

It might well be Haaland's final season at the club, and you would not put it past the youngster, who also set up six goals last term, to propel Dortmund into the title race, back where they belong.

 

RB Leipzig

There are plenty of quality teams competing with the three leading lights, and it would certainly not be surprising to see Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, Eintracht Frankfurt or Gladbach mount a serious push for Champions League football.

However, Leipzig have well and truly established themselves as a Champions League regular now, and will be looking to Marsch, who has made the transition from sister club Salzburg, to continue Nagelsmann's work.

Leipzig sold Timo Werner to Chelsea in 2020, and netting just 60 times, they clearly missed the striker. Indeed, midfielder Marcel Sabitzer, with eight goals, was their leading scorer, with forwards Alexander Sorloth and Yussuf Poulsen only managing five each.

In Andre Silva, signed from Frankfurt, Leipzig have a forward who scored more than Haaland in the Bundesliga last season, with the Portugal international finding the net 28 times in 32 appearances.

Silva boasted an impressive 'big chance', as defined by Opta, conversion rate of 55 per cent, while only Lewandowski (137) had more than the former Milan man's 117 attempts. Dani Olmo and Christopher Nkunku – who supplied nine and six assists respectively last season – can provide the creativity, with Poulsen and Sorloth able to offer Marsch a variety of attacking options. Caden Clark, who is starring in MLS, will arrive before the turn of the year, while Dominik Szoboszlai is almost like a new signing, given he is yet to feature for the club since his arrival in January due to injury.

Leipzig have faced a reshuffle in what had been a strong defence, with key man Upamacano departing while Ibrahima Konate has also left for Liverpool, though the acquisition of Salzburg's highly rated Mohamed Simakan shows the production line is still ticking along, and a Champions League place will be the minimum expectation. 

Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke says that it is "unfair" that Paris Saint-Germain have signed Lionel Messi.

PSG unveiled Messi on Wednesday following his free transfer move from Barcelona on a bumper two-year deal.

Watzke, who has had to ward off strong interest in Dortmund's prized asset Erling Haaland this off-season, said Qatari-owned PSG's economic position was unfair.

“It is a fact that PSG has more economic resources than 85 per cent of other European teams," Watzke said as reported by L'Equipe.

"It is clear that this is an unfair competition that has already been rife for too long but I am by no means jealous.

"Frankly, it wouldn't be my cup of tea to have to kneel down every fourth morning in front of the Emir of Qatar."

PSG have signed Messi along with Georginio Wijnaldum, Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma on free transfers this off-season, bumping up their player wages.

The Parisians also spent €60million to sign Internazionale full-back Achraf Hakimi, having purchased Mauro Icardi for the Nerazzurri 12 months ago for €50m.

Pep Guardiola's quest to conquer Europe and continue domestic domination with Manchester City has seen him sign Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish in a deal reportedly worth £100million.

Grealish becomes the most expensive signing in Premier League history after being prised away from Villa Park, where he had spent his entire career and captained his boyhood club since 2019.

The England international, who helped the Three Lions to a first major final appearance in 55 years at Euro 2020, has regularly been linked away from Villa but committed his future after rumoured interest from Manchester United, signing a long-term contract in 2020.

In the 2020-21 campaign, the 25-year old contributed with six league goals and 10 assists, while also creating 81 chances across 26 appearances for the Villains.

Dean Smith will no longer have the playmaker to call upon, though, as Guardiola has demolished the previous Premier League transfer record – set by Paul Pogba's return to United in 2016 – to secure Grealish's services.

After City's record-breaking acquisition of Grealish, Stats Perform looks at the other most expensive signings in English top-flight history.

PAUL POGBA – Juventus to Manchester United, £89.3m

Jose Mourinho's first transfer window with the Red Devils saw the France midfielder return to Old Trafford in a then-world record transfer.

Since making that reunion in 2016-17, only Marcus Rashford (78) and Anthony Martial (64) have been involved in more Premier League goals for United than Pogba (57 – 28 goals, 29 assists), while the midfielder has created more top-flight chances (207) than any other player for the club during this period.

He scored and assisted one apiece for France at Euro 2020, while only Antoine Griezmann (10) created more chances than Pogba's eight for Les Bleus.

HARRY MAGUIRE – Leicester City to Manchester United £80m

United broke the world transfer record for a defender in 2002 when they signed Rio Ferdinand for £30m and 17 years later they acquired Maguire for more than double that fee.

The centre-back endured a tricky start to life in Manchester, however, his quality eventually shone through as he strung together 71 consecutive appearances for United.

Despite missing the last four games of the 2020-21 campaign, Maguire ranked second in the Premier League for aerial challenges won (135) and fifth for successful duels (203) before featuring prominently at Euro 2020 for England.

 

VIRGIL VAN DIJK – Southampton to Liverpool, £75m

Jurgen Klopp, albeit under contentious circumstances, convinced Van Dijk to move away from St. Mary's Stadium in December 2017.

The commanding Netherlands captain guided Liverpool to their sixth Champions League success in 2018-19 before playing a key role as the Reds ended their 30-year wait for an English title.

Van Dijk's absence severely affected their Premier League defence last term. Klopp's men have won 75.8 per cent of their league matches with Van Dijk in the side since his debut in January 2018, a figure that falls to 54.3 per cent in his absence.

 

ROMELU LUKAKU – Everton to Manchester United £75m

The Belgium forward never settled in at Old Trafford and left after two seasons, despite converting 42 times in 96 games for United.

Lukaku scored twice in United's stunning Champions League last-16 comeback victory over Paris Saint-Germain in 2019 before completing a switch to Inter, where he helped Antonio Conte's men to their first Scudetto since 2009-10.

During the title-winning campaign, Lukaku shunned doubts over his finishing as he converted almost one in four chances to bag 24 goals and improved his link-up play to form an effective partnership with Lautaro Martinez. Since his Inter debut only five players have scored more goals in Europe's top five leagues than Lukaku (64).

He has now been linked with a return to former club Chelsea in a deal which could shatter Grealish's new record.

 

JADON SANCHO – Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United £73m

After leaving Manchester City in 2017 for Borussia Dortmund, Sancho found himself signing for the red half of Manchester four years later. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pursued Sancho for multiple transfer windows and finally got his man in the wake of England's Euro 2020 shoot-out heartbreak.

Since the start of the 2018-19 campaign, the 21-year-old has been directly involved in the joint-most goals of any English player across the top five European leagues (78), while he has played fewer minutes than Harry Kane – also on 78 – in this period.

Sancho also became the first Englishman to reach at least 10 assists for three consecutive seasons in Europe's top-five leagues since David Beckham, who achieved the feat between 1997-98 and 2000-01 for Alex Ferguson's United.

Borussia Dortmund suffered a pre-season setback as both Thomas Meunier and Julian Brandt tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday.

Dortmund had been due to hold a public training session to showcase their squad, bolstered by the signings of Donyell Malen and Gregor Kobel, though they had to postpone due to positive tests among the first-team group.

The club initially announced Meunier's COVID-19 results with a statement, before releasing details of Brandt's test on Twitter as they communicated the cancellation of the open training session.

The statement concerning Meunier on the official website said: "Borussia Dortmund defender Thomas Meunier has tested positive for coronavirus. The Belgium international took two tests prior to the training camp in Switzerland and an additional test before departing from Bad Ragaz. All of those tests came back negative. 

"Having had several days off, the player has now tested positive before commencing training this week. Thomas Meunier has since been in isolation. We hope that Thomas' symptoms are as mild as possible and that he gets well soon."

Later on Tuesday, Dortmund's official Twitter account posted the news that Brandt, too, had tested positive.

Marco Rose's new side finished third in Bundesliga last term, with a late push securing Champions League football for the 2021-22 campaign.

The German side failed to keep hold of Jadon Sancho, who moved to Manchester United in the transfer window, though they do still have Erling Haaland to call upon for the new season.

Dortmund get their Bundesliga campaign underway against Eintracht Frankfurt on August 14 before facing Bayern Munich in the DFL-Supercup three days later.

Chelsea are in the market for a striker and are seemingly keen on one of their former players.

Romelu Lukaku helped Inter to the Serie A title last term and is seemingly in Chelsea's sights.

The Belgium international scored four goals at Euro 2020 after netting 24 times in Serie A.

TOP STORY - CHELSEA REBUFFED IN LUKAKU BID

Chelsea have had their initial bid worth approximately £86 million (€100m) for Lukaku rejected by Inter, reports The Sun.

The Blues made their transfer offer with defender Marcos Alonso also involved, but the Italian champions are demanding a £100m (€117m) fee.

Lukaku is said to be Chelsea's number one target after failing in their bid to lure Erling Haaland away from Borussia Dortmund.

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid are still expecting Kylian Mbappe to let his Paris Saint-Germain contract expire at the end of the 2021-22 season and join Los Blancos for free, according to AS.

- The Daily Star reports Manchester City and Tottenham are still unable to reach agreement in negotiations over Harry Kanewith £40m separating them currently.

- AS claims Barcelona remain in the box seat to sign highly sought-after Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez despite their financial challenges. Saul has been chased by Premier League trio LiverpoolManchester United and Chelsea.

Atalanta are set to win the race to sign Juventus defender Merih Demiral, claims Sky Deutschland, with Cristian Romero looking likely to join Tottenham. Bundesliga pair Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen were also interested in the Turkey international.

Roma head coach Jose Mourinho has switched his attention from Arsenal's Granit Xhaka to Dortmund's Thomas Delaney, according to Bild.

Jack Grealish has been holidaying following Euro 2020, but it is now decision time on his club future.

Speculation has mounted over the past few days about a potential move to Manchester City.

City manager Pep Guardiola is a long-term admirer of Grealish, and a big-money bid has apparently been sanctioned by chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak.

TOP STORY - GREALISH SET FOR MONDAY TALKS WITH VILLA

Grealish has returned from his off-season holiday and will hold showdown talks with Aston Villa on Monday as a move to City looms, reports The Mirror.

Grealish has been linked with a £100million move to the English champions and is expected to inform Villa of his intention to leave.

Villa have reportedly offered Grealish a bumper new deal worth £200,000-a-week.

 

ROUND-UP

Tottenham have turned their attention to Wolves winger Adama Traore, according to the Daily Mail. Wolves reportedly want £45m for the Spain international, who would be re-acquainted with manager Nuno Espirito Santo. Goal claims Leeds United are also interested in Traore.

Atletico Madrid are preparing for Kieran Trippier to exit the club as links with Manchester United intensify, with the Spanish champions lining up a move for Roma's Alessandro Florenzi, claims AS.

Atletico are also pursuing Inter's Lautaro Martinez and have moved ahead of Arsenal in the race to sign the Argentina international, according to Tuttosport.

- Borussia Dortmund's Denmark international Thomas Delaney is being pursued SouthamptonNorwich City and Crystal Palace, reports Ruhr Nachrichten.

- ABC claims Real Madrid will offer forward Karim Benzema a new one-year contract extension.

Borussia Dortmund have confirmed the signing of Dutch forward Donyell Malen from PSV on a five-year contract.

The 22-year-old, who featured in all four of the Netherlands' Euro 2020 matches, is reported to have cost Dortmund up to €40million.

Malen previously spent time in the academies of Ajax and Arsenal, but it is with PSV that he made his senior breakthrough in February 2018.

He went on to make 116 appearances for the Eredivisie side in all competitions and played a direct part in 79 goals, finding the net 55 times himself and setting up a further 24.

Last season was Malen's best to date in terms of his attacking output as he scored 19 times in 32 Eredivisie games to help PSV finish second to Ajax. 

Those 19 goals were scored from 113 shots, 87 of which were not blocked.

Sixty of those efforts found the target, giving him a shooting accuracy of 68.97 per cent – the best return of any player in the Dutch top flight to have had at least 50 attempts.

In February, he became the second youngest player to score 10 or more goals for PSV in three successive league campaigns after Willy van der Kuijlen between 1964 and 1967.

Malen carried that form into Euro 2020, with his four big chances created bettered by only Gareth Bale (five) at the tournament.

 

After being granted permission to train with his new Dortmund team-mates for the first time on Tuesday, BVB confirmed the signing on their official website later in the day.

The forward's arrival will soften the blow of losing Jadon Sancho to Manchester United, at a time when questions persist over Erling Haaland's future at the Westfalenstadion.

However, speaking earlier on Tuesday, Dortmund's head of first team football Sebastian Kehl dismissed suggestions Malen has been brought in to replace Sancho.

"To compare anyone with Jadon is really unfair," he told Sky Sport Germany. "Jadon needed a certain amount of time to develop to that point himself.

"Donyell is a different player. He likes to cut inside from the wing, whereas Jadon liked to stay out wide. 

"We have tried bringing in a player with a different profile, and we are very happy with that."

Erling Haaland has suggested the €175million fee it might take to prise him away from Borussia Dortmund would be too much to spend on one player.

That figure has been floated as a potential benchmark in Chelsea's bid to sign the Dortmund sensation.

Haaland has previously been linked with several of Europe's top clubs, but finances are tight at Barcelona and Real Madrid while Manchester United and Manchester City seemingly have their eyes set on alternative targets.

It leaves European champions Chelsea as the striker's most likely destination if he leaves Dortmund, yet Haaland's comments on Tuesday did not indicate an imminent move.

"Before yesterday I hadn't talked to my agent in a month – you have to tell me [about the reports]," he told the media.

"But I hope they are just rumours, as €175m would be a lot of money for one person."

Pressed on his Dortmund future, Haaland added: "First of all, I have three years left on my contract. I'm enjoying my time here.

"But of course [winning the DFB-Pokal] was important, because that's what I want."

 

PAY THE PREMIUM?

Dortmund have already sold Jadon Sancho to United but appear determined to keep Haaland for at least another year, at which point a relatively affordable clause in his contract could be activated by rival clubs.

For Chelsea, as they aim to follow up Champions League success with a Premier League challenge, the appeal of paying a premium 12 months early is clear.

Their shot conversion rate of 10.43 per cent in 2020-21 ranked 69th among the 98 teams in Europe's top five leagues, while their 58 goals fell 4.92 short of their expected goals (xG) total of 62.92 – the 20th-worst underperformance.

Timo Werner was the Blues' starting striker of choice but netted just six times in the top flight from 79 shots worth a combined 11.45 xG, a miserable 7.59 per cent conversion rate.

Haaland, by contrast, scored with 29.03 per cent of his 93 attempts, improving on his 23.84 xG with 27 Bundesliga goals.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Jadon Sancho has made the perfect step at the right time in his career, as he believes Manchester United's latest addition can showcase 'untapped talent' at Old Trafford.

United's long pursuit of Sancho has resulted in a deal that Stats Perform understands is worth £72.9million (€85m), making him the fourth most expensive signing in the club's history, behind Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire and Romelu Lukaku.

The 21-year-old, who left United's rivals Manchester City to join Borussia Dortmund in 2017, has signed until 2026 with an option for a further year.

Sancho scored 50 goals and provided 57 assists in 137 appearances across all competitions for BVB, with only Erling Haaland and Marco Reus having scored more since the winger made his debut.

In 104 Bundesliga appearances, Sancho netted 38 times, averaging a goal every 197 minutes, bettering the totals of the wide players he has joined at United in Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Daniel James.

Having secured a long-term target – Sancho was the subject of much speculation in 2020 – Solskjaer hailed the England international as the ideal player to bring into United's squad.

"Jadon epitomises the type of player I want to bring to the club, he is a forward player in the best traditions of Manchester United," Solskjaer told the club's official website.

"He will form an integral part of my squad for years to come and we look forward to seeing him blossom. His goals and assists records speak for themselves and he will also bring tremendous pace, flair and creativity to the team. 

"Old Trafford will give him the platform he needs to release his untapped talent and perform at the highest level. For a player of his age, Jadon has already achieved a great deal and showed the courage to go and prove himself abroad. We all look forward to welcoming Jadon to the squad as we prepare for the new campaign."

For his part, Sancho – who came through Watford's academy before moving to City at the age of 14 – explained it was always his plan to return to the Premier League.

He said: "I'll always be grateful to Dortmund for giving me the opportunity to play first team football, although I always knew that I would return to England one day.

"The chance to join Manchester United is a dream come true and I just cannot wait to perform in the Premier League. This is a young and exciting squad and I know, together, we can develop into something special to bring the success that the fans deserve. I am looking forward to working with the manager and his coaching team to further develop my game."

Sancho also thanked Dortmund directly, telling the Bundesliga club's official website: "I can't thank the people in charge at Borussia Dortmund enough for the chance they gave me as a very young player. 

"At BVB I was able to mature into the player I am today. The DFB-Pokal win last season was a great end to my time at BVB. But I will always remember the support and love of the incredible fans as something special."

Jadon Sancho has finally joined Manchester United after they sealed a deal to bring in the England winger from Borussia Dortmund.

The long pursuit of Sancho has resulted in a deal that Stats Perform understands will see United pay £72.9million (€85m) for Sancho, with no add-ons included within the deal.

It makes the 21-year-old the fourth most expensive signing in United's history, behind Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire and Romelu Lukaku.

He has signed until 2026, with United having the option to extend that agreement for another year.

United were keen on Sancho last year but could not drive through a deal at the time, with Dortmund reluctant to sell one of their chief assets.

However, they have now been persuaded to part company with a player who scored twice in their DFB-Pokal final win over RB Leipzig last season.

Sancho established a strong understanding with the much-coveted Erling Haaland while at Dortmund and now joins a United side who have ground to make up on neighbours Manchester City.

He will look to build a similar rapport with his Manchester United team-mates, having experienced the agony of losing the Euro 2020 final on penalties alongside Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford.

Both Sancho and Rashford missed from 12 yards in the shoot-out as Italy prevailed after a 1-1 draw following extra time to deny England a first major title since the 1966 World Cup.

Having joined Dortmund in 2017, Sancho scored 50 goals and provided 57 assists in 137 appearances across all competitions for BVB.

It was City that Sancho left to join Dortmund in August 2017. He had come through the youth ranks with Watford initially before moving as a 14-year-old to the Etihad Stadium.

The balance of power in Manchester, and indeed in English football, remains weighted in City's favour after they won the Premier League title by 12 points from second-placed United last season.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should have Sancho among his attacking options for his team's opening Premier League game against Leeds United at Old Trafford on August 14.

Sancho is the only player from Europe's top five leagues to have scored 10 goals or more and had at least 15 assists across all competitions in each of the past three seasons while playing at that high level.

United's penalty shoot-out defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League final in May means they remain without a major honour during Solskjaer's reign, which began when he was initially placed in caretaker control in December 2018 after Jose Mourinho was sacked.

Jadon Sancho has finally joined Manchester United after they sealed a deal to bring in the England winger from Borussia Dortmund.

The long pursuit of Sancho has resulted in a deal that Stats Perform understands will see United pay £72.9million (€85m) for Sancho, with no add-ons included within the deal.

It makes the 21-year-old the fourth most expensive signing in United's history, behind Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire and Romelu Lukaku.

He has signed until 2026, with United having the option to extend that agreement for another year.

United were keen on Sancho last year but could not drive through a deal at the time, with Dortmund reluctant to sell one of their chief assets.

However, they have now been persuaded to part company with a player who scored twice in their DFB-Pokal final win over RB Leipzig last season.

Sancho established a strong understanding with the much-coveted Erling Haaland while at Dortmund and now joins a United side who have ground to make up on neighbours Manchester City.

He will look to build a similar rapport with his Manchester United team-mates, having experienced the agony of losing the Euro 2020 final on penalties alongside Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford.

Both Sancho and Rashford missed from 12 yards in the shoot-out as Italy prevailed after a 1-1 draw following extra time to deny England a first major title since the 1966 World Cup.

Having joined Dortmund in 2017, Sancho scored 50 goals and provided 57 assists in 137 appearances across all competitions for BVB.

It was City that Sancho left to join Dortmund in August 2017. He had come through the youth ranks with Watford initially before moving as a 14-year-old to the Etihad Stadium.

The balance of power in Manchester, and indeed in English football, remains weighted in City's favour after they won the Premier League title by 12 points from second-placed United last season.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should have Sancho among his attacking options for his team's opening Premier League game against Leeds United at Old Trafford on August 14.

Sancho is the only player from Europe's top five leagues to have scored 10 goals or more and had at least 15 assists across all competitions in each of the past three seasons while playing at that high level.

United's penalty shoot-out defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League final in May means they remain without a major honour during Solskjaer's reign, which began when he was initially placed in caretaker control in December 2018 after Jose Mourinho was sacked.

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