Arsenal can finally sign ‘outstanding’ striker for free as contract terminated

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Photo by INA FASSBENDER / AFP via Getty Images

Norway’s failure to secure their place the Qatar World Cup robbed the footballing world the chance to see Erling Haaland go about his business on the biggest stage of all.

But Manchester City’s new £ 51 million goal-machine is not the only free-scoring Scandanavian star who will be watching on from home, suffering from a nasty case of ‘football festival’ FOMO.

Erik Botheim, Haaland’s former Norway youth team-mate and fellow Flow King, is yet to earn a senior cap for the national team. But if The Lions had been roaring their way to Qatar, you can bet your bottom dollar that there would have been a seat on the plane for Botheim.

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The blonde bomber scored 15 goals in 30 games while firing Bodo / Glimt to another Eliteserien title in 2021. It was in Europe where he really made his name, however. Two goals and three assists in an immediately-iconic 6-1 thumping of Jose Mourinho’s Roma; That’s one way to announce your arrival on the continental stage.

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“Many clubs were interested in me,” Botheim explains following his £ 4.5 million move to Russia in December. “Krasnodar seemed, to me, the most curious option.”

Could Erik Botheim join Manchester City’s Erling Haaland in England?

But, just six months into his three-and-a-half year deal, Botheim is looking for a new club once again. His contract at the Russian Premier League outfit was torn up on Wednesday.

“Erik Botheim has terminated his contract with Krasnodar with immediate effect,” the 22-year-old’s agent confirms via Instagram. “Russia illegal invasion of Ukraine is still ongoing. And in all the circumstances, Erik considered he had no other choice. ”

If clubs across the continent were queuing up for Botheim before Christmas – when he had a £ 4.5 million price tag on his head – you can expect plenty of interest now he’s a free-agent. But how far can Botheim fly?

“When I was a teenager, I went to see Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United and Barcelona,” Botheim, who likens his style of play to that of Roberto Firmino and Robert Lewandowski, tells Sport24.

Botheim was not eligible for a professional contract at the time of his visit to North London. But you could make a case for each of those four aforementioned superclubs clubs needing attacking reinforcements in the upcoming transfer window.

Free-agent

Dortmund are under pressure to replace a certain Norwegian powerhouse, after all, while Arsenal, as things stand, will not have a single senior striker on their books come July 1.

Photo by Massimo Insabato / Archive Massimo Insabato / Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

And while The Gunners are prioritizing a Victor Osimhen, a Tammy Abraham, a Dominic Calvert-Lewin or a Gabriel Jesus, Mikel Arteta needs quantity as well as quality. Botheim, on a free, would represent a low-cost, potentially high-reward addition, providing a reliable back-up option while saving up funds for a more big-name, big-money arrival.

“Erik is not the fastest striker but his team play is outstanding,” journalist Freddy Toresen tells Goal.

“He is always involved, and he is very smart in the box. His positioning is becoming better and better all the time. He is making a name for himself in this majestic Bodo / Glimt team. ”

Hard-working, a clinical finisher, blessed with an ‘outstanding’ team-ethic and natural-born poaching skills. There’s a lot for Arsenal fans – and Arteta – to like. And that’s before mentioning sending Mourinho into meltdown.

Photo by Massimo Insabato / Archive Massimo Insabato / Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

In other news, Report: £ 50m star to reject Manchester United, leaves Manchester City now on pole

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