New signing Jens Petter Hauge could become a player like Liverpool’s Mo Salah for AC Milan, according to one journalist.
Hauge is a Bodø native, a small town in the most northern parts of Norway. Bodø is a town with approximately 50,000 inhabitants and is not well known for its production of footballers, something his father told us in our recent exclusive, but the fairytale was completed when the 21-year-old made his way to Milan.
We revealed last month that Milan started a serious pursuit of the winger after the 3-2 win over the Eliteserien side at San Siro in the Europa League, a game in which he scored and notched an assist, and the operation moved quickly.
MilanNews spoke to Mina Finstad Berg, who works for Norwegian television network TV2, with the questions and answers below.
Mina, to begin with, how did the negotiations for Hauge start and when did Milan start taking an interest in the player?
“Actually, I first heard about his potential transfer through the Italian media. But according to his agent, AC Milan had been monitoring him since June. The Europa League match with Milan at San Siro convinced them to increase their interest, coming to contact his agent at the end of the match.”
What roles can Hauge play? Is he a flexible player?
“Absolutely yes. Although Hauge’s favourite position is the left winger, he can also play many other roles. In fact, he was used as a right winger and also played as a center forward for Norway U21. In addition, he also played in his career as a midfielder.”
At Bodø/Glimt he scored many goals and provided several assists. Will he be able to repeat the same numbers in the Italian league too?
“Hauge’s numbers in Eliteserien this season have been impressive, but it would be madness to expect the same kind of numbers in Serie A. Hauge was one of the best players in Norway this year, but Serie A is on a completely level. It will take some time to get used to playing in a league like this, but Hauge seems ready.”
Milan this year built a very young team. Do you think Hauge can soon integrate into the team and immediately become decisive?
“I think Hauge is very motivated and ready to start this new chapter of his career. He is in great shape. Arriving just now he will need time to settle into the team and to learn the manager’s system and style of play, but – I repeat – he seems more than ready for this new challenge.
“Yesterday he made his debut with the Norwegian national team, and he is a young man with a lot of self-confidence, without being presumptuous. When Bodø/Glimt played at San Siro, Jens showed that he is not afraid of big chances, and I think he has shown he is capable of creating a lot of problems for Serie A defenders.”
Who would you compare him to?
“I think it is difficult to find a player to compare him with, but perhaps I would compare him to a young Mohamed Salah. He is a brave player, not afraid to face defenders and quite direct in his style of play. But he is also a connecting player. capable both of creating opportunities for others and of finishing them on his own. And he’s a dribbler.”