Jens Petter Hauge to Milan is becoming more and more a reality. After SempreMilan was first to report the deal, it’s at such an advanced stage now that the 20-year-old Norwegian as flown from his hometown Bodø to Milano today.
To give our readers the full story on Hauge, SempreMilan’s Maxi Angelo interviewed Norwegian football expert, Jonas Giæver, who have followed his career to tell you all about him.
Who is Jens Petter Hauge?
Jonas Giæver: “Jens Petter Hauge is born in 1999, so he’s 20-years-old. A left-winger, who can play attacking midfielder as well. Extremely good in small spaces, to navigate himself past defenders with his dribbling skills. Very fast and has great close control.
“This season he’s taken big steps forward in his development as he’s started to score a lot and make assists. He’s a player you’ve waited for a long time for. You’ve believed that this is someone really, really special but before this season he hadn’t really shown it fully. And last season Bodø/Glimt had two players, Håkon Evjen and Amor Layouni, who were completely outstanding and because of that Hauge spent a lot of time on the bench. But when both Evjen and Layouni got sold, Hauge got his chance and has taken it with both hands.
“But in 2018, Hauge was so little thought of at Bodø/Glimt that he was sent out on loan to Aalesund who plays in the Norwegian second tier. So back then it was discussed ”Will Hauge be as good as we believe he can be?”. But then he went to Japan to play the U20 World Cup, together with Erling Braut Haaland Leo Skiri Østigård, and some other ”alpha males” and I think he learned a lot from them. Because we’ve seen this season that he really believes in himself and he’s become a true winner. So he’s grown a lot from that and especially with this Bodø/Glimt-team. He’s become the team’s big, big star.”
The confidence, that was something he showed in particular at San Siro. For instance when he made Kessié to set up Bodø’s first goal.
Jonas: “Yeah, that something he’s done all season I Norway with many players in the Norwegian Eliteserien. There are plenty of games where he’s been completely outstanding, so you can’t really decide in which game he’s been the best in.
“There are so many where’s he’s been completely sensational in. Bodø is miles ahead of the rest of the competition in Norway, I think they have an 18 point lead in the league, and that’s a lot because of Jens Petter Hauge.
“But it’s also very important to note that he has a great collective behind him at Bodø, it’s a team that’s been really, really good. There are plenty of players in that team that should be of interest to some big, big clubs after this season. Especially Patrick Berg.”
Jens Petter Hauge – @jenspetter99
🇳🇴 Welcome to AC Milan 🔴⚫️
— ACM Comps (@CompsACM) September 29, 2020
How big is this transfer in Norway?
Jonas: “It’s completely insane. All media are talking about it. I wrote on Twitter last night that he was flying to Milano at 07:00 in the morning, and when I looked in the papers and on Twitter today, it was all flooded with media who had been at the airport at 07:00 in the morning.
“That speaks volumes about how big this is in Norway. This is the biggest news in Norway today and probably will be this week. Especially now as he was called up to the national team for the first time yesterday as well. He’s the name on everyone’s lips at the moment.
“We’re living in a time where Norway has a player in Real Madrid (Ødegaard), a player in Borussia Dortmund (Haaland), a player in RB Leipzig (Sørloth), and now a player at Milan. It can barely believe it if I’m completely honest. That Jens Petter Hauge is joining Milan is completely mad, sensational, and an adventure that feels like it’d be impossible.”
Hauge is a left-winger. Can you see him make an impact from the right-wing as well?
Jonas: “I believe he can do a good job there as well. But I mostly think that Jens Petter Hauge’s big strength has been his unpredictability. As he’s right-footed on the left-wing, the defenders have a hard time knowing if he’s going to cut inside and shot/pass or advance towards the byline and put a cross in. Hypothetically, Hauge together with Zlatan, who’s one of the best in the world, certainly better than Kasper Junker and Victor Boniface at Bodø, could be truly fantastical.
“What will be interesting to see is how Jens Petter Hauge will be deployed. To be effective, I think that he needs to have a lot of ball, to feel it, to have contact with it, to feel part of the game.
“At Bodø, he’s tended to drop deep to collect the ball to feel it and connect with his teammates, I don’t know if he’ll have that freedom at Milan because they already have very dominant midfielders on the ball in Ismaël Bennacer and Sandro Tonali, to name two. And Zlatan also likes to drop down to get the ball. So I’m not sure it will be the same at Milan, but he’s had that freedom at Bodø/Glimt at it’s worked out brilliantly – and I think Milan has seen that and are aware of it.”
I read that you wrote in a pre-game text for Milan-Bodø that Hauge was about to leave in January, can you elaborate a bit on that?
Jonas: “That’s correct. Cercle Brügge had a bid accepted for, what I’ve heard, about €1million. Perhaps a bit over that. The bid got accepted, Hauge had an agreement with Cercle Brügge, he was going there – and then corona strikes. So the problem then was that he couldn’t go to Belgium, because then he had to be in quarantine, and a doctor from Brügge couldn’t go to Norway because then he had to be in quarantine.
“So what they did was that they put the deal on a stand-still for a long, long time and did nothing. But everyone agreed that this is going to be a transfer. And then Bodø started to win (Ten wins, zero draws, zero defeats in the first ten league games) and Hauge started to play really well.
“Everything started to look sensational, and then Hauge came to a crossroads where he decided that ”I don’t want to go to Brügge anymore”. So he decided to stay at Bodø/Glimt to finish the season, has continued to play amazingly, bigger clubs have shown up, and now Milan has pushed the button and said ‘He’s going here’.”
What a talent Jens Petter Hauge is. Individually caused Milan much trouble tonight, got a goal and an assist, and is absolutely annihilating the Norweigan league with 14 goals and 9 assists in 17 matches. Only 20-years-old. Another exceptional talent Norway has in the pipeline
— Maxi (@MaaxiAngelo) September 24, 2020
Is there any area of Hauge’s game where he needs to grow or improve?
Jonas: “I don’t know if there is any part of his game he needs to improve in the role he plays in Bodø, but what’s important to remember is that what he’s achieved, he’s achieved in Norway. And if you compare Norway’s Eliteserien and Serie A, there’s a massive difference. It’s as if Badou Jack was to fight Mike Tyson. You can’t compare the two. So that is what I think he needs to improve is to be able to do what he does, but on a much higher level.
“I’ve seen players go from Eliteserien to Serie A before and completely fail. But I think Hauge has such a strong mentality, so I feel that it can go really, really well for him. However, I don’t think the Milanisti should think that ‘Wow, here comes the Norwegian Messi’.
“You have to be patient with him, I think, because he’s never played on a higher level than Eliteserien – so it will be an acclimatization process for him. But I do think that Hauge can become of a very high calibre and help Milan if that time is given.”
Many will categorise Hauge with Haaland and Ødegaard, who are obviously in a league of their own. But do you think that Hauge can become a star like them?
Jonas: “Can he become as good? Of course, he has the potential. Great potential. But what you say about Haaland? He’s a phenomenon, and I think it would be a bit unfair to compare Hauge with him.
“But to say that Hauge can become a player of European top quality, one of the best players on his position in Europe, that he has the potential for that, that I think he does. But then things have to click for him and that he gets the patience and the position he’s natural in.”
Anything else that would be good for Milan-fans to know about?
Jonas: “Well, Jens Petter Hauge is a Bodø-native. That’s a town with about 50,000 people, where he’s lived all his life. Now he’s going to Milano which is a big, big city with 1.3 million people. So he’s going from a small town and a small club in Norway to a big city and a big club in Italy. And that’s important for both Milan’s personnel and the club’s supporters to remember, that his entire life will change overnight.
“That’s not an excuse or anything, but there is a big contrast between his life in Norway and the new life that awaits in Milan. So be patient with him and let’s hope that this will be absolutely fantastic.”