Splashing the cash when it comes to signing a new striker is an instant priority for all the top clubs and Manchester City has sure tried to replace Sergio Aguero in the past 18 months but to no avail.
There was a failure to get Harry Kane over the summer, a rumoured pursuit of Robert Lewandowski but it now seems that they have landed their man after reportedly triggering the target’s release clause in the last month.
Erling Haaland is the chosen man and £63 million has been offered in return for his departure from Borussia Dortmund. The talks are ongoing to finalise a package that is likely to see the 21-year-old become the highest-paid player and the new focal point of the blue of Manchester.
Concerns regarding his injury record have not dampened the mood around the Etihad fanbase despite missing 173 days of action since 2020 and a dip in form as a consequence.
However, the new megastar seems to only enhance the Premier League champions should he follow in his father’s footsteps. Here is a run-through of the five reasons why the Haaland transfer makes complete sense and must go all in.
Goals, Goals, Goals
Goals have never been a problem for Manchester City so far this season, however, their shot conversion rate has slightly dipped in the latter half of the season and has led their closest rivals, Liverpool, to take advantage and close the gap. Guardiola’s men have managed 805 shots and 80 goals in the league this season, with a percentage of 9.9% which falls short of Klopp’s men (10.2%), Chelsea (10.4%) and Tottenham (10.4%).
Playing without a recognized striker has surely contributed to a small percentage change, with Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling often found guilty of missing good-scoring opportunities, especially in tight games against Liverpool, Crystal Palace and Tottenham.
The Dortmund striker’s statistics of 27 in 28 appearances last season and 21 in 22 in this Bundesliga campaign will surely have City fans wishing the move can get over the line to fulfil that striker hole left by Aguero.
Who knows, sharp finishing from the Norwegian may have wrapped up the title already and they could be in Liverpool’s position and potentially fancying a quadruple/treble chance.
Eliminate the competition
Competition on all fronts will come tougher should Haaland move to a different team with moves to Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona all sounded out as possible destinations in the last year.
Despite not mounting a credible challenge with the Dortmund team, joining a genuine contender in Europe’s elite will pose a greater challenge to Guardiola’s continued quest for dominance.
Haaland will add to all those teams in domestic competitions and the Champions League, potentially preventing City from winning their two targets – Premier League and Champions League.
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Adds to their formation dynamic
Playing without a known striker in that number nine role has not troubled City this year, with fluidity to their play and the forwards interchanging positions throughout. This has caused the opposition many problems as it eliminates the man-marking style and allows Kevin De Bruyne to roam free and influence the game.
However, adding a focal point to that system will give City a Plan B in those difficult games although he would have to fit in with the basic philosophies of Guardiola’s reign with his Cruyffian positional play model, all high possession and high pressing style.
A fresh angle of attack for City could potentially mark the return of Sterling, Leroy Sane and Aguero trio formed in the shape of Jack Grealish and Phil Foden on either side of their new talisman.
Benefit the players around him
The levels of their colleague’s performance and ability can only enhance when playing with the world’s best, with City’s array of attacking options set to increase significantly.
The move will shine a spotlight on Julian Alvarez and Gabriel Jesus, however the level of competition can only increase the level of commitment within training and focus their determination, which will result in greater performances.
Increase in value
Along with Kylian Mbappe, Haaland is viewed as the next footballer that can replicate the goals/assists per season we witnessed watching Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in their prime as both of those players look to hand over their football dominance.
Getting a 21-year-old at the price of a £63 million fee is nothing short of a bargain, albeit the wages and agent add-ons could potentially hike up the reported fee. Something that the Emirati owners will have no issue funding.
That fee could double, or potential triple, given a successful tenure in the rainy city and providing he doesn’t depart at the end of his contract. Smart business from Ferran Soriano and Txiki Begiristain that could bring trophies and profit, particularly if he is using the club as a ‘stepping stone’.
There are certainly more positives than doubts surrounding the deal should Norway’s superstar find his way over to the Premier League and add to one of the world’s best teams