Haaland’s productivity, with 53 goals and 14 assists in 56 Borussia Dortmund appearances, suggest that his club-record fee would eventually be repaid however.
And he will surely be the top target over Tottenham’s Harry Kane given the difficulty of negotiating with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, and the fact the England captain is older and more injury prone.
If United want to win the biggest of honours again, having gone over a decade without a Champions League triumph and almost as long without a league title, signing a centre-forward as fearsome as Haaland would be a massive help.
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One of United’s other priority areas of recruitment is in central defence, where a partner to Harry Maguire is needed who can serve as an upgrade on the likes of Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly.
There are few better than Real Madrid’s Varane, the 28-year-old World Cup winner who has racked up over 350 appearances for Los Blancos since 2011.
The France international is out of contract in a year’s time and might be available at a reasonable fee of around £60m.
He only recently turned 28 and so United could get a good four or five years of service out of the centre-back, if not more, and he has ample experience of winning at the highest level.