Manchester City have cut short Lukas Nmecha's season-long loan to Wolfsburg, instead sending the striker to Middlesbrough after he failed to score in Germany.

The 21-year-old, who has played for both England and Germany at youth level, joined Wolfsburg at the start of the season but struggled to make an impact.

Nmecha made 12 appearances for his loan club in all competitions but started only once and did not find the net.

City recalled the striker on Friday and loaned him back out to Championship side Boro, where he joins Patrick Roberts - a team-mate in Manchester who endured a similarly tough stretch at Norwich City.

Nmecha spent the 2018-19 season on loan at Preston North End, having appeared three times for City in the previous campaign.

"We're delighted to bring Lukas to the club," said Boro head coach Jonathan Woodgate. "He is a terrific young player who has the benefit of a year's experience of Championship football.

"He is another young, hungry player of real quality, and it's great that we've been able to get him.

"In Lukas and Patrick, we have signed two very good players, and we've been able to bring them in early in the transfer window, which is a real bonus."

Julian Nagelsmann does not believe RB Leipzig are yet good enough to win the Bundesliga, adding their results against title rivals must improve.

Leipzig lead the table at the mid-season break, but an intense tussle for the championship seems likely, with Borussia Monchengladbach, champions Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke all within seven points.

Head coach Nagelsmann is certainly not getting carried away, insisting there is still work to do before the team can think about staying top until the end of the campaign and winning a first title.

"We have to develop," he told Bild. "At the moment, we are not good enough to become champions."

There is one clear area of improvement Nagelsmann has identified, believing Leipzig need to do more work to check fellow contenders' progress in head-to-head meetings.

Leipzig defeated Gladbach in the third week of the season and drew with Bayern the following week.

But a humbling home defeat to Schalke followed later in September, while they could only claim a point from a gripping back-and-forth at Dortmund shortly before the break.

"We always talk about weakening Bayern and Dortmund," Nagelsmann said. "But it would also be advisable if we won against them - otherwise, it would just be difficult at the end of the season."

Manchester United have identified James Maddison or Jack Grealish as their top January transfer targets.

With Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay injured, United have concerns in midfield to begin 2020.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said United were looking at "one or two" January additions, and it appears their targets are also Premier League players.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD IDENTIFY MADDISON, GREALISH AS JANUARY TARGETS

Manchester United are prioritising a move for Leicester City's Maddison or Aston Villa's Grealish, according to the Independent.

United are looking to find greater consistency in the second half of the Premier League season, although they sit fifth in the table.

Grealish has provided five assists in the Premier League this campaign, while netting six times. Maddison also has six goals.

ROUND-UP

- Thomas Lemar is attracting interest from Tottenham. AS reports that if the midfielder joins Spurs from Atletico Madrid, the LaLiga club would be able to sign Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani.

- Tottenham may have more pressing concerns in January. Harry Kane could be set for an extended spell on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury as Spurs await the results of a second scan, according to The Telegraph.

- Benfica are prepared to let 20-year-old midfielder Gedson Fernandes leave. A Bola reports the club are ready to negotiate for the Portugal international, who has been linked to Manchester United, Lyon and Milan.

- Arsenal are aiming to strengthen their defence with the signing of Bayern Munich centre-back Jerome Boateng, according to Sky Sports. Calum Chambers is set for a long spell on the sidelines after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament, and Boateng could be set for a return to the Premier League.

- Jean-Clair Todibo is expected to leave Barcelona in January and a surprise potential destination has emerged. Bild reports Schalke are thinking about a loan move for the 20-year-old defender.

- Borussia Dortmund have set their price for forward Paco Alcacer. The Bundesliga club want €40million for the Spaniard, who has been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid.

Benfica have completed the €20million signing of Julian Weigl from Borussia Dortmund on a four-and-a-half-year contract.

The two clubs confirmed a fee had been agreed on December 31, with the deal now complete following Benfica's announcement to Portugal's Securities Market Commission.

Weigl, 24, joined Dortmund from 1860 Munich in 2015 and initially settled well, spending most of his first three seasons in the starting XI.

During that time he was reported to have become a target for many of Europe's biggest clubs, with Barcelona, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain said to have been enamoured of his eye-catching style of play and passing ability.

He fell somewhat out of favour last season and, although he started 12 of Dortmund's 17 Bundesliga games this term, sporting director Michael Zorc confirmed Weigl asked to leave.

The Germany international has signed on until 2024 and Benfica confirmed his contract contains a €100m release clause.

Benfica sit top of the Primeira Liga with 39 points from 14 matches

With the January transfer window open across Europe, clubs will be checking their budgets to see if they can make additions for the second half of the campaign.

January is traditionally a tough time to do business with teams generally unwilling to allow stars to leave but Erling Haaland's switch from Salzburg to Borussia Dortmund shows major deals are possible.

Unsettled players around the continent may push for a chance at a new club as squads get shuffled, but who are some of the big-name stars who could be on the move this month?

We have picked out 10 players who have been strongly linked with switching teams during the January transfer window.


PAUL POGBA (Manchester United)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's recent insistence that Pogba would not leave United this month has been undermined by the latest twist in the midfielder's ongoing saga. After he was surprisingly left out of the squad for a New Year's Day loss at Arsenal, Solskjaer indicated Pogba would be undergoing surgery in a bid to solve his injury issues. An operation could make it less likely Pogba leaves Old Trafford in January, but the links to Real Madrid will not go away. For what it is worth, Pogba's agent Mino Raiola has said his client is staying at United - for now at least.


EMRE CAN (Juventus) 

Pogba's continued absence has left a hole in United's midfield, especially with Scott McTominay also out of action. Can is among the players being linked with a switch to Old Trafford after failing to make an impact at Juventus. The Serie A champions, who are reportedly interested in bringing Pogba back, are also said to be ready to listen to offers for Adrien Rabiot and Daniele Rugani with both players not regular starters under Maurizio Sarri this season.


JADON SANCHO (Borussia Dortmund) 

The biggest move of the January transfer window could involve Sancho leaving Dortmund with the England international having struggled with off-the-field issues despite fine form on the pitch during the first half of the season. Premier League sides Manchester United and Chelsea, who signed Christian Pulisic from BVB last year, are reportedly leading the race for Sancho, but he would likely cost in excess of £100million. Dortmund, having beaten off competition from various top clubs to land Haaland, are said to be willing to listen to offers for Paco Alcacer too.


EDINSON CAVANI (Paris Saint-Germain)

Another elite forward potentially on the move this month is Cavani, with PSG's all-time leading goalscorer struggling to get into the team after the successful signing of Mauro Icardi on loan from Inter. At 32, Cavani likely has one more big deal left in him with Atletico Madrid said to be keen - a swap deal involving France winger Thomas Lemar has been mooted. PSG are also reportedly ready to cut their losses on Leandro Paredes, who has made little impact since joining from Zenit.


JAMES RODRIGUEZ (Real Madrid)

Colombia star James has been on the fringes at Madrid since returning from a loan spell with Bayern Munich, making only four starts in LaLiga this season. Arsenal, Inter and PSG have all been linked with James, who has also emerged as a shock target for Everton. New Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti coached the 28-year-old playmaker at both Madrid and Bayern.


ARTURO VIDAL (Barcelona)

Another South American midfielder who could leave LaLiga this month is Vidal, who has complained about allegedly unpaid bonuses at Barca and hinted he might be open to a return to Serie A. League leaders Inter are said to be keen with Antonio Conte having worked with Vidal at Juve, where the Chile international previously won four successive Serie A titles.


JOAO CANCELO (Manchester City)

Right-back Cancelo only joined City last August but, after failing to usurp Kyle Walker as first choice in his position, the 25-year-old could be on the move again with former club Valencia and Bayern Munich both linked. Cancelo's departure would leave City even shorter of defensive options but if they can sell the Portugal international it could allow the defending Premier League champions to bring in another body elsewhere, though Pep Guardiola has ruled out signings.


CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN (Tottenham)

Denmark midfielder Eriksen is out of contract at the end of the season and has previously made it clear he is ready for a new challenge. Eriksen has found himself on the fringes under new boss Jose Mourinho and the club's notorious negotiator Daniel Levy may opt to cash in on the 27-year-old rather than watch him leave for nothing. Spurs, though, surprisingly persuaded Toby Alderweireld to commit to a new deal and it is not impossible Eriksen follows suit if the right club does not make an offer. Inter, PSG, Juve and United have all been linked and it has even been suggested Eriksen could be included in a deal to take Gareth Bale back to Spurs from Madrid.


DANI OLMO (Dinamo Zagreb)

One of Europe's most in-demand young players, Olmo will surely leave Dinamo sooner rather than later. The 21-year-old midfielder, who has already been capped by Spain, says he has an offer from Barca but the LaLiga champions face strong competition for his signature. Olmo is one of a raft of players being linked to Chelsea after their transfer ban was reduced on appeal, while Manchester United and Manchester City are among the other clubs reportedly interested.


WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace)

Another potential Chelsea target is Zaha, who was said to be close to leaving Palace during the last transfer window only for an £80million price tag to seemingly scare off suitors. Arsenal and Everton were reportedly interested in the Ivory Coast forward, with Roy Hodgson accepting Palace would have to consider "serious" offers for the 27-year-old this month. Blues boss Frank Lampard has denied Zaha is on his radar, however.

Marcel Schmelzer plans to leave Borussia Dortmund for "something exotic" if he does not play an increased role in the first team before the end of the season.

Former captain Schmelzer has made two late substitute appearances under Lucien Favre this term, when thigh and calf injuries have limited his availability.

However, having featured just nine times in the Bundesliga during 2018-19, the 31-year-old is ready to end his career-long association with BVB at the conclusion of 2019-20 if required.

"If nothing has changed in my situation at Dortmund by then, I would like to go abroad and do something exotic," Schmelzer told Kicker.

The experienced left-back revealed he almost left Signal Iduna Park in the close season but, due to his contract running until 2021, Dortmund were unwilling to let him go.

"From my side, everything was sorted with a club from abroad, which would have also enabled me to work as a coach alongside playing," said Schmelzer.

"That was almost the most important point in the discussions for me at the time because I want to work in this area after my career. It was an extremely exciting package and fit.

"I had to accept that [Dortmund would not release him], even though I was very disappointed. I already felt back then I would hardly get any chances, and that's what come about."

Hertha Berlin have signed Argentina international midfielder Santiago Ascacibar from 2. Bundesliga club Stuttgart on "a long-term deal".

The 22-year-old, who earned the most recent of his three Argentina caps in November 2018, becomes Hertha's first signing since Jurgen Klinsmann replaced Ante Covic.

Ascacibar previously played two seasons of Bundesliga football for Stuttgart prior to their relegation last year and featured 13 times in the second tier this term.

He will join the rest of the squad for their mid-season training camp in Orlando and is in contention to make his debut when Bayern Munich visit the Olympiastadion on January 19.

"I'm happy that the transfer has been completed in the winter break," Ascacibar told his new side's official website.

"After holding talks with [sporting director] Michael Preetz and Jurgen Klinsmann, I believe I can continue to develop as a player here and that we can achieve a lot together. 

"I'm really looking forward to that and can hardly wait to get to know my new team-mates. We'll do everything we can to keep climbing up the table in the second half of the season."

Hertha, 12th in the Bundesliga after collecting eight points from Klinsmann's opening five matches, are also in the running to sign Granit Xhaka from Arsenal.

Borussia Dortmund have agreed to sell midfielder Julian Weigl to Benfica ahead of the January transfer window.

The Germany international, who joined Dortmund from 1860 Munich in 2015, will complete a reported €20million move following a medical.

Weigl started 12 times in the Bundesliga in the first half of the season but requested the move, Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc revealed.

"Julian came to us with this wish and we agreed - also because of his services to the club," Zorc said. "We wish him all the best for his future."

The 24-year-old Weigl said on Dortmund's website: "I would like to thank my team-mates, BVB employees and all fans of this great club for a great time, and I will always carry Borussia Dortmund in my heart."

Weigl was part of the Dortmund team that won the 2016-17 DFB-Pokal and 2019 DFL-Supercup.

He leaves the club fourth in the Bundesliga table - seven points off the top - just days after they completed the first high-profile capture of the window in Salzburg sensation Erling Haaland.

Benfica are top of the Primeira Liga and face Shakhtar Donetsk in the Europa League, having dropped out of the Champions League.

Manchester United must evaluate why Erling Haaland chose to join Borussia Dortmund over them instead of attempting to blame other parties, according to agent Mino Raiola.

Highly rated striker Haaland, who scored 28 goals in 22 appearances in all competitions for Salzburg this season, signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with Dortmund on Sunday.

United, RB Leipzig and Juventus were also understood to be interested, with reports suggesting Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward held talks with Salzburg and Haaland's representatives – including his father Alf Inge Haaland and Raiola – before pulling out of the deal.

United were thought to be unhappy with Raiola's demands during negotiations, but the agent, who also represents Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic among other star names, refuted those suggestions.

"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," Raiola told The Telegraph.

"There was no fall-out between me and Woodward. It was just a normal negotiation and the player has chosen a different path.

"If they want to blame someone then, fine, blame me, but the player is happy. He has made his choice and we went through a normal process.

"The club that had the most direct contact with him was Manchester United. They spoke to him the most. Everybody had the chance to talk to him in person. We let that happen especially when he knows Ole.

"Clearly [Haaland] felt that at this moment it was not the right step in his career. There is nothing against Manchester United or Ole.

"He chose Borussia Dortmund ahead of them and other clubs and I'm very happy because he is going to the club he wanted to go to and that is best for him right now. If he wanted to go to Manchester United I would have been obliged to take him to Manchester United but he did not."

Raiola also claimed Haaland's decision proved his client is prioritising regular playing time over money.

"When you are 19 then maybe you prefer not to go to the Premier League," said Raiola. 

"The offer from Manchester United was good. It was not about the economics. It is just the player chose Borussia Dortmund at this stage of his career."

Hansi Flick says defender Jerome Boateng will have the final say over his own future after falling out of favour at Bayern Munich.

Boateng has started eight of Bayern's 17 Bundesliga matches this term and has been strongly linked with an exit in the January transfer window.

Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have been tipped to move for the Germany international, while Arsenal are rumoured to have already made an approach.

And stand-in boss Flick will let Boateng, who is out of contract at the end of next season, decide whether he stays on at the Allianz Arena or finds a new challenge elsewhere.

"I get along with him and we talk openly," Flick told German sports magazine Kicker. 

"Against Wolfsburg he came into the side and had some problems, but then he showed he has the quality to play for Bayern. 

"Jerome has to make the decision about his future because it's about his career."

Regardless of Boateng's future, Flick has set his sights on bringing in a new right-back in the coming weeks.

"Benjamin Pavard does well in every position but especially well at centre-back," he said. "Therefore an addition at right-back would be helpful.

"Winter transfers always bring something to a team if they help immediately - and this is difficult to find. I am in exchange with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Hasan Salihamidzic."

Bayern are third in the Bundesliga at the midway stage, four points adrift of leaders RB Leipzig after an indifferent first half to the campaign that saw Flick replace Niko Kovac in November.

Flick has overseen eight wins from 10 games in all competitions and will remain in charge of the German champions until the end of the campaign.

He previously worked as assistant to Germany coach Joachim Low for eight years before linking up with Kovac earlier this year, but that is no longer a role that appeals to him.

"I can imagine a lot of things, but I can't imagine that at the moment," he said.

"It's been a lot of fun, especially working with this coaching team and this squad. 

"We've found a really good team spirit. Bayern Munich is a club with a lot of power, so I really like this job. The idea of always wanting to be successful suits me perfectly.

"I feel a lot of trust. There's nothing to stop us from continuing if we're successful. Let's just assume that our matches and results will remain satisfying. And if not, the club will have plenty of time to look for another coach."

Erling Haaland's decision to join Borussia Dortmund brought an end to one of Europe's most fascinating transfer stories.

Manchester United had been in the frame for his signature but were reportedly put off by a key demand from the striker's representatives.

As often seems to be the case for the Red Devils, Mino Raiola's involvement led to complications.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED PULLED PLUG ON HAALAND BID

According to The Guardian, United abandoned their bid for the highly sought-after Haaland after learning of a request from his agent, Raiola, and father Alf-Inge Haaland.

The pair reportedly asked for a share of any future transfer fee for the 19-year-old, a stipulation the Old Trafford outfit were unwilling to meet despite their firm interest.

Haaland settled on Dortmund after the Bundesliga side activated his Salzburg buyout clause.

He had been linked to RB Leipzig, Juventus and several more top European clubs after emerging as a Champions League star.

 

ROUND-UP

- Haaland's arrival at Dortmund could lead LaLiga side  Atletico Madrid to narrow the transfer focus on Spanish striker Paco Alcacer, according to Marca. The former Barcelona player has struggled to cement a place in BVB's starting XI and represents a cheaper option in terms of wages than Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani, an apparent favourite of Diego Simeone.

- AS, meanwhile, reports on potential movements elsewhere in the Spanish capital. The newspaper claims Real Madrid are preparing to recall Jesus Vallejo from his loan spell at Wolves, with a view to finding him more playing time. That could lead to a short-term switch to Leganes or Eintracht Frankfurt.

- Juventus are close to extending Wojciech Szczesny's contract yet the Serie A champions remain admirers of Milan star Gianluigi Donnarumma and Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen, according to CalcioMercato.

- Tammy Abraham wants a better deal at Stamford Bridge but Chelsea are not yet prepared to accept his demand for parity with Callum Hudson-Odoi's £180,000 per week salary, reports The Athletic.

- Manchester City are set to beat Premier League rivals United, Arsenal and Liverpool to the January signing of Barcelona's teenage left-back Juan Larios, says the Daily Star.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the 2010s in terms of individual awards and moments of pure inspiration.

Future generations will look back on this past decade as a period obsessed with the two generational talents - their often-exaggerated rivalry exacerbated by spending such a long time on opposite sides of the Clasico divide.

But, while Ronaldo and Messi have filled more column inches than any other player on the planet, there are plenty of others who have been world leaders in their respective positions.

Having looked back over the last 10 years, using Opta data for inspiration, we have selected a Team of the Decade. But who makes the cut?

Is David de Gea selected in goal? Does Luis Suarez join Messi in attack? Has Virgil van Dijk done enough for inclusion? Find out below...

OMNISPORT TEAM OF THE DECADE

Manuel Neuer

There is not much more Manuel Neuer could have achieved over the past 10 years. For much of that time he has been one of the globe's most dependable goalkeepers, even if he has shown signs of decline since a spate of foot injuries. A veteran of seven Bundesliga title triumphs and a World Cup winner with Germany, Neuer boasts a save percentage of 74.2 per cent and has comfortably the most clean sheets (139) this decade in the German top flight.

Dani Alves

Has there ever been a better right-back than Dani Alves? The Brazilian stands to leave an impressive legacy, not just through his thrilling style of play, but with his record-breaking trophy haul of 43 after captaining Brazil to Copa America success this year. Despite being a right-back, he claimed 67 assists in league action through the 2010s, though his greatest contribution came in LaLiga with Barcelona, for whom he set up 51 goals. Marcelo (48) is the closest to him, but he has played 77 times more than the current Sao Paulo star.

Vincent Kompany

Although a brilliant player at his best, it is understandable to suggest Vincent Kompany never reached his ceiling due to injuries. Nevertheless, the Belgian will go down as a Premier League great such has been his impact with Manchester City, with whom he enjoyed four title wins. Kompany recorded 83 Premier League clean sheets in the 2010s, just 10 fewer than record-setter Kyle Walker, who has played 57 more matches. His leadership qualities have been missed by City this season.

Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos is a player who often polarises opinion, but he's one of only three players to have been at Madrid for the entire decade, so he must be doing something right. An undisputed leader and fierce competitor, Ramos is a big-game player like few others and boasts a goal-scoring record even many midfielders would be happy with, having netted 43 times in LaLiga since the start of 2010, more than any other defender. Over the past 10 years, he's helped Los Blancos to a remarkable four Champions League titles, while he won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 with Spain.

Jordi Alba

At his best, Jordi Alba was almost unstoppable. The flying left-back became a staple and key outlet for one of the great Barcelona teams, with his driving runs – on or off the ball – often creating havoc. A master at making a darting run into the box before cutting a pass back to create a chance, Alba has 38 LaLiga assists to his name for Barca, a record bettered by only Dani Alves and Marcelo among defenders. He gets the nod ahead of his Madrid counterpart as his assist haul is from 72 fewer matches.

Luka Modric

The only player to break the Cristiano Ronaldo-Lionel Messi Ballon d'Or duopoly, Luka Modric has enjoyed a wonderful decade. A vital part of the Croatia team that enjoyed an historic run to the 2018 World Cup final, Modric also played a big role in Madrid's incredible Champions League domination. Toni Kroos (11,260) is the only midfielder to have completed more passes in LaLiga than Modric (10,759), while he laid on 42 assists and created 522 chances.

N'Golo Kante

If there was an award for the most likeable player of the decade, N'Golo Kante would surely be a frontrunner. Sadly there is no such thing, so he'll have to contend with inclusion in this team. Arguably the key cog in Leicester City's remarkable Premier League title win, Kante followed that up with similarly impressive form at Chelsea and with France, winning the World Cup with Les Bleus last year. He has made 912 tackles and interceptions in the Premier League, putting him fifth among players with 200 appearances or fewer this decade, and each of those who rank higher have played at least 20 matches more.

David Silva

When David Silva leaves Man City at the end of the season, there will inevitably be a debate as to whether he can be regarded the Premier League's greatest 'import'. That this will even be suggested tells you the impact he has had. No one gets close to Silva's record of 89 Premier League assists in the 2010s, with the Spaniard almost certainly the most consistent creator the division has seen in the past 10 years. He was similarly important for Spain until his post-World Cup retirement last year, having previously lifted the trophy in South Africa in 2010 and at Euro 2012, eventually accumulating 125 caps.

Lionel Messi

Where does one even begin with Lionel Messi? If any single player has defined the 2010s – from an individual perspective – in world football, it is surely the Barcelona talisman. In LaLiga, Messi has amassed 505 goal involvements (369 goals, 136 assist) in 343 matches since the start of the decade, routinely carrying Barca to victory. He has won every trophy possible with the Blaugrana over the past 10 years and claimed five Ballons d'Or, with his 2019 victory giving him a record-breaking sixth. Although now 32, he remains frighteningly decisive – all that eludes him is international success with Argentina.

Robert Lewandowski

A long list of immense strikers have starred throughout the 2010s, but arguably chief among them – Ronaldo aside – is Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski. Having moved from Borussia Dortmund, whom he helped turn into Champions League contenders, the Poland international has developed into a remarkable all-round striker. In 307 Bundesliga games he has 221 goals from 1,163 attempts, meaning he scores every 5.2 shots – by contrast, Ronaldo needs 6.4 efforts per goal. Although he is yet to win Europe's elite club competition, there is little doubt the Pole appears to be getting better with age having already notched 19 league goals this term, just three short of his total for 2018-19.

Cristiano Ronaldo

In the somewhat tiresome 'Ronaldo or Messi' debate about which superstar is "better", the former can at least point to his international successes with Portugal as something that sets him apart, having lifted Euro 2016 and the 2018-19 Nations League. That is just the tip of the iceberg for his brilliance in the 2010s, however. Across spells with Real Madrid and Juventus, Ronaldo has scored 335 league goals and laid on 95 assists. With Los Blancos he helped inspire four Champions League successes, also winning a couple of LaLiga titles. What a privilege it has been to see Ronaldo and Messi in the same era.

Borussia Dortmund emerged victorious in the Erling Haaland transfer saga as they confirmed his capture from Salzburg on Sunday, seemingly beating Manchester United, Juventus and other major clubs to the Norwegian.

The 19-year-old had emerged as a supreme talent this season with the Austrian champions, starring in their domestic Bundesliga and in the Champions League.

In all competitions, Norway international Haaland scored 28 goals in 22 matches this season prior to confirmation of his impending transfer.

He is the latest in an impressive line of young players developed and sold on by Salzburg, following on from Sadio Mane, Naby Keita, Amadou Haidara, Dayot Upamecano and Takumi Minamino, whose January move to Liverpool was also confirmed this month.

But who are the next potential stars on the Salzburg production line? We asked Austrian football expert Simon Clark…

Patson Daka, 21 - Forward

With Haaland's scoring prowess no long something Salzburg can rely on, there will be added onus on Daka – luckily, the 21-year-old Zambian is already in electric form with 14 goals in 17 league games.

"He's fast and strong and has excellent movement off the ball, with late runs into the box his forte," Clark told Omnisport. "He can also play off the shoulder of the last defender and beat them for pace in one-on-one battles. He might need some improvement finishing-wise, but in this Salzburg team chances are aplenty."

Karim Adeyemi, 17 - Forward

Everything points to Adeyemi making Salzburg a significant amount of money in the future. Having slipped through the net at Bayern Munich – reportedly owing to punctuality issues – he found his way to Salzburg via Unterhaching in 2018, apparently costing almost €3.5million as a 16-year-old.

"He's not even made a competitive appearance for the Salzburg first team, but has been linked with Barcelona," Clark commented. In fact, reports even claimed Barca had a €15m bid rejected for Adeyemi. "He's already among the top three highest-valued players in the Salzburg set-up."

Currently impressing on loan in the second tier, Adeyemi is well on track to become the next 'generational talent' to come through Salzburg's system.

Antoine Bernede, 20 - Midfielder

It was seen as a coup when Salzburg signed Bernede – then 19 – from Paris Saint-Germain in February, having emerged as one of their more promising youngsters. Although injury curtailed him earlier this season, the French midfielder has significant potential.

"In my opinion, Bernede was one of Salzburg's best players in the early part of the season before a terrible tibia fracture against LASK in September," Clark surmised. "He orchestrated the Salzburg midfield and was utterly sensational in the first Champions League match against Genk. He's an engine in midfield, has excellent positional awareness and breaks up attacks very well. [Coach Jesse] Marsch uses him as the deep-lying midfielder, and often kickstarts attacks with cross-field passes."

Dominik Szoboszlai, 19 - Midfielder

Arguably the most recognisable player on the list given his previous strong links with RB Leipzig and Arsenal, among others, Hungary international Szoboszlai is now Salzburg's most valuable asset.

"He has an astonishingly good right foot and can score David Beckham-esque free-kicks, play cross-field passes with distinction and pings balls in the box with ferocity," Clark said. "However, he can sometimes get lost, doesn't track back and is afraid to get stuck in. He's an immense – and mercurial – talent, but I feel like he doesn't 'fit' the Jesse Marsch system as well as other players do."

But at 19, he still has plenty of time on his side.

Enock Mwepu, 21 - Midfielder

Coach Marsch's all-action, pressing style of play requires real work ethic in midfield. Given the popularity for such systems in modern football, Mwepu may well become a sought-after commodity.

"He's the perfect player for Marsch's set-up," Clark says. "He's superb at winning loose balls and finds himself in the right position to break up possession, but he's also got a great range of passing. He's taken his chance after Bernede's serious injury and he was one of the standout performers against Liverpool at Anfield, showing he can impress on the biggest stage. I think he'll go on to play for one of Europe's top sides."

Sekou Koita, 20 - Forward

Like Daka, Koita will be expected to ease the exits of Haaland and Minamino, given their goal-scoring exploits. Although his season has been impacted by an abdominal injury, the 20-year-old Malian has still managed to get six goals in 10 appearances at an average of one every 82 minutes.

"He impressed in the Under-20 World Cup, but maybe now will have some proper playing time in Marsch's squad. A slightly smaller physique [than Haaland and Daka], but Koita has pace in abundance to terrify defences, great awareness, quick decision-making, precise finishing and he can play anywhere up front." Clark expects him to become a "star".

Borussia Dortmund have signed one of the hottest properties in European football by completing a deal for Salzburg star Erling Haaland.

The teenage striker sprung to prominence by claiming the Golden Boot at this year's Under-20 World Cup and extended his prolific vein of form in the Austrian Bundesliga and the Champions League.

Dortmund have completed a transfer coup and possibly secured a decisive boost in a wide-open battle for this season's German Bundesliga crown.

But, as ever when a sought-after player completes a major transfer, there are those pondering what might have been.

Here, we look at some potential winners and losers after the Haaland transfer saga reached its conclusion.

WINNERS

Bundesliga title race

Bayern Munich are chasing an eighth consecutive league title in Germany but their grip on supremacy looks to be loosening at the midway point this time around.

RB Leipzig (more on them later) lead the way from Borussia Monchengladbach, with Bayern four points off the summit.

Behind them are Haaland's new employers. Dortmund have struggled for consistency this season but the seven-point gap to Leipzig will suddenly feel a lot more bridgeable. We could see a thrilling run-in.

Jadon Sancho

If Haaland needed proof that a prodigiously talented teenager can thrive at Signal Iduna Park, he did not need to look any further than his fellow 19-year-old.

A veritable assists junkie, England international Sancho will now be supplying the ammunition for a player boasting 28 goals in 22 senior appearances this season.

Sancho's hopes of a first senior title have now increased. Perhaps more significantly in the long term, so seemingly have his prospects of a blockbuster move to one of Europe's super clubs. Dortmund getting hold of another prime asset means they may be more willing to cash in on Sancho at the end of this season.

Manchester United's forwards

Manchester United were one of the clubs heavily credited with an interest in Haaland. However, it is hard to argue a gifted forward line is the part of an unhelpfully thin squad that most needs attention.

On top of that, Anthony Martial has thrived this season when allowed to operate in a central striking role, and Mason Greenwood appears to be a rare goalscoring talent.

Both of those men might well have found themselves frustrated with Haaland in town.

Mino Raiola

He might have a forthcoming January saga concerning Paul Pogba on the agenda, but Haaland's high-profile representative is likely to be fairly pleased with his work here.

Numerous reports claim Raiola is a major beneficiary of the outlay being a relatively meagre €20million, stipulated in the player's Salzburg release clause, with other cash freed up for agent fees.

Additionally, Dortmund are unlikely to be Haaland's final destination. If all goes to plan, he might be looking at a €100million-plus move elsewhere in a couple of years that may allow Raiola to feather the nest all over again.

LOSERS

RB Leipzig

If RB Leipzig were to be denied a first Bundesliga title by a player who joined a rival from their sister club, it would certainly hurt.

A glorious second half of the season for Dortmund may mean some tough conversations within Red Bull's sporting operation.

Looking beyond this term, if Timo Werner's future lies elsewhere, Julian Nagelsmann's side have just missed out on a seemingly readymade replacement.

Salzburg

As a side from the Austrian Bundesliga, selling talents like Haaland for a handsome profit is a vital part of Salzburg's business model.

However, with this deal coming hot on the heels of Takumi Minamoto's similarly cut-price switch to Liverpool, events feel like they are progressing too quickly.

Salzburg's release clauses for the two players appear significantly below market rates, while Hwang Hee-chan is also reportedly on Wolves' radar. After making their mark in the Champions League, Salzburg's status as dark horses in the Europa League is no more.

Manchester United

Aside from the benefits for the likes of Martial and Greenwood, little else about this transfer represents good news for Manchester United.

A lack of success over recent years means it is harder for the 20-time English champions to dine at the top table in transfer terms. Here, there was a chance to secure an exceptional talent at minimal cost.

Then we should consider Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's role. If the manager cannot persuade a player he helped to nurture at Molde, who hails from a country where he is a national hero, how much weight is his talk of United "DNA" likely to hold in future transfer negotiations?

All eyes will be on Erling Haaland when the Bundesliga season resumes after Borussia Dortmund won the race to sign the much-coveted 19-year-old from Salzburg.

Dortmund confirmed the capture of Haaland on Sunday, having beaten off competition from a host of leading European teams.

We take a look at the Norwegian's most notable achievements to date, which illustrate why his new club have described him as "the most exciting centre-forward talent in Europe".

 

GOALS GALORE IN 2019-20

After joining Salzburg in January 2019, Haaland barely featured for the club in the second half of last season, although he did score in one of his two league appearances in May.

It was a totally different story in the first half of this term, with the teenager scoring a remarkable 28 goals in 22 appearances across all competitions.

A tally of 16 goals in 14 Austrian Bundesliga games is impressive, but Haaland's most notable performances came at the highest level of European club football.

 

A CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RECORD-BREAKER

Haaland scored a hat-trick on his Champions League debut against Genk on September 17, becoming the first teenager to score more than once on his maiden appearance in the competition since Wayne Rooney in 2004, but he was not finished there.

Further goals against Liverpool and Napoli took his tally to seven - a record haul for a teenager in a Champions League campaign - from just four games, Haaland swiftly surpassing the previous benchmark of six set by Raul and Kylian Mbappe.

He went on to become only the third player, after Alessandro Del Piero and Diego Costa, to score in his first five matches in the competition when he grabbed another goal against Genk on November 27.

No player has ever scored in their first six Champions League outings, a statistic that remains true after Haaland failed to find the net against Liverpool in Salzburg's final group game.

 

NINE GOALS IN ONE GAME!

Prior to his Champions League heroics, Haaland made quite the impression at the Under-20 World Cup in May.

In a shockingly one-sided 12-0 win for Norway against Honduras, Haaland scored nine goals, breaking the previous individual record of six held by Brazil's Adailton.

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