The Erling Haaland transfer to Manchester City provides Manchester City with a seemingly unbreakable spine.
Looking up and down Manchester City’s potential starting XI with the Norwegian, there is no blank space. Erling Haaland fits the body of a true striker. Tall, strong, fast, clinical and aggressive. The one downside of Haaland’s game is his dribbling. Even then, his pace and physicality is enough to get past seemingly any defender.
His goal-scoring record provides more than enough evidence in that regard. While the Bundesliga is not as competitive as the Premier League from top to bottom, it does feature strong teams each week. He won the 2020/21 Bundesliga Player of the Season award in the same season Robert Lewandowski scored 41 goals in 29 league appearances. Perhaps that comes from the fact that Haaland was 19 years old scoring a goal per game.
What is equally impressive is his Champions League record. In the same season he scored 27 league goals in 28 games, Haaland led the Champions League in goals. He scored 10 goals in the Champions League that season, doing so in just eight games.
While injuries remained something of a concern for suitors, major clubs always fancied the Norwegian.
Now, he joins a side that is perhaps the best in Europe. With what could be four English Premier League crowns in five seasons, Manchester City looks to be one piece away from breaking its Champions League dud. With Pep Guardiola holding a reputation for revolutionizing certain players, Haaland could be his next product.
Erling Haaland looks to fill the Guardiola’s lone void at Manchester City, and the talent and potential are unbounding.
How Erling Haaland’s transfer fits Manchester City
If there is any one criticism of Pep Guardiola’s tactics, it is the fact that it is incredibly pass heavy. If the Spaniard had his way, City would pass every ball into the back of the net rather than an actual shot.
As seen by Manchester City’s lofted possession statistics regardless of opponent, the Citizens dominate the game. City conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League through 35 games in 2021/22 with just 21 goals against. Over Pep’s first five years in England, Manchester City had the best or second-best goals against statistic in four years.
Clearly, defense is not the issue. With opposing sides relying heavily on counter attacks, there are only so many ways to break Manchester City down.
Erling Haaland’s arrival at the Etihad is not there to plug any gaps on defense. He is there to provide a finishing product on the end of service from the plethora of talents in the midfield and wings.
Holding on to the ball so much, Manchester City’s statistics regarding service are not necessarily surprising. For example, the club has the second-most crosses in the Premier League through 35 games with 783. For those curious, that is just over 22 crosses a game. Even though Manchester City currently leads the league in goals scored with 89 (two better than Liverpool), Manchester City could, and likely should, expand on that.
One statistic the Premier League measures is big chances missed. This is when a player is reasonably expected to score. Or, it could be when a player is expected to shoot, but does not, electing instead for a pass. This season, Manchester City leads that statistic among Premier League clubs with 61 big chances missed.
Erling Haaland does more than minimize that issue, his effectiveness in front of goal provides next to no big chances missed. Or, at least, it makes up for it in some way.
This season for Borussia Dortmund, Erling Haaland played in just 23 games this season. He holds an expected goals tally of 16.6, third-best in the Bundesliga. Therefore, he gets into the right positions to fit what City’s talent can do. Moreover, Haaland has just five big chances missed. Yes, he played fewer games than most of the competition. However, his shot conversion rate, or his percentage of goals scored based on total shots, is 19.8% this season. It is better than Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, whose conversion rate is 16.8%.
Erling Haaland’s impending transfer to Manchester City likely raised the eyebrows of those already in Manchester. Currently, Gabriel Jesus is Manchester City’s principal option. Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish and Phil Foden also made appearances over the last couple of weeks at the striker position. Truthfully, with the interplay among Manchester City’s forwards and attacking midfielders, the club does not maintain one option up top.
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However, Erling Haaland’s prolific nature in front of goal far exceeds all of those options. For one, Gabriel Jesus has eight goals in 26 Premier League games. For a striker, this painfully low, especially considering half of those came in one game. Jesus does have nine assists, showing an added benefit to his game. However, if a striker’s goal is to score, Haaland is an incomparable upgrade.
His price tag does that justice. The rumored fee is around $80 million. For the potential on top of what Haaland already does, it seems like a good deal. Manchester City is already a successful club when it comes to the Premier League.
Pep Guardiola hopes Erling Haaland is the key to Manchester City’s first Champions League title this upcoming season.
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