No national team manager loves the transfer windows, especially when his team is doing well. For Lars Lagerbäck, this autumn can quickly stand and fall on the choices Alexander Sørloth (24) and Joshua King (28) have made / taken.
Tuesday night it became (finally) clear after a long time and a lot of speculation. There was interest from France, England and Italy. But Alexander Sørloth goes to Germany and plays the Bundesliga for one of the top teams there in recent years: RB Leipzig. He will also be the second most expensive Norwegian to change clubs.
Expectations do not decrease for that reason.
Sørloth goes from goal machine in Turkish football, transferred to the national team, and to a career that you never know what leads to. In the last 11 months, Sørloth scored 33 goals for Trabzonspor – and six goals in five games for Norway.
Sørloth is high on the efficiency statistics for Norway as well: Lars Lagerbäck scored an average every 57 minutes from the great Trøndelag man.
These are invaluable goals for Norway’s Swedish national team manager. In recent matches he has been able to sit back and new attacking game Sørloth and striker Erling Braut Haaland has performed.
Now Sørloth will submit to a completely different, and new, system, fighting for a place on the team, a place that was eventually secure as the famous bank in Turkish Trabzonspor.
And with that comes the uncertainty – for Lagerbäck. This coming Monday, he will take out, perhaps, his most important national team squad since he was hired in January 2017. In seven days, from 8 to 14 October, Norway can both play their way to a play-off final for the European Championships – and take the lead in its pool in the Nations League.
Haaland scored two goals in the German season opener, see the scores here:
All three matches, against Serbia, Romania and Northern Ireland, are played at Ullevaal Stadium. The nation longs for success. And a lot stands and falls on the super tips. When Martin Ødegaard has not yet recovered in great shape, the attackers become even more important. But Alexander Sørloth is in the middle of the start phase of a new chapter in his career.
Lars Lagerbäck can do nothing but hope that the scoring shoes are still on Sørloth, that the form is retained. But this is a national team manager’s losing streak: He has no control over his players at all.
The same probably applies to an even greater extent to Joshua King, who has not changed clubs, has not played for Bournemouth, who relegated to the Championship. He has not played a club game since July 16.