How Erling Haaland's celebrated arrival will impact forgotten Man City transfer
Manchester City confirmed on Tuesday that a deal had been struck with Borussia Dortmund to sign forward Erling Haaland. The club activated the Norway striker's release clause and the player will join in July.
The 21-year-old is considered one of the hottest prospects in Europe and has scored a remarkable 85 goals in 88 matches for Dortmund since joining from RB Salzburg in January 2020.
City have been without a true recognised number nine since Sergio Aguero’s departure last summer, therefore fans are understandably exciting by the prospect of the Norwegian joining Pep Guardiola’s squad.
However he won’t be the only new addition to the City attack this summer, with Julian Alvarez also set to join up with City’s first team once his loan spell at River Plate comes to an end.
The 22-year-old signed for the champions in January but was immediately loaned back to River Plate on a short-term deal.
The Argentine has scored 44 goals while registering a further 29 assists in just 111 appearances for his boyhood club, making him one of South America’s hottest prospects. Yet there are now legitimate concerns about how Haaland's arrival could impact the forward’s progression at the club.
For much of his time at Dortmund, Haaland has most often featured as a lone striker, usually in formations such as a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3. These two formations are also the two most used by Guardiola, meaning that Haaland should in theory slip into his starting 11 seamlessly.
Given his ability and the price paid, Alvarez isn’t going to dislodge Haaland, and it seems he won’t have the option to play alongside him either, meaning his pathway at this stage isn’t clear.
He does have a varied skillset, meaning he’s versatile and can play different roles across an attack. Guardiola could therefore hand him minutes on City’s left or right next season. Yet 90 per cent of his minutes during his senior career so far have come through the middle, and it’s there where we’d see the best of the dangerous forward.
Although there are obvious concerns about how Alvarez fits into City’s plans next season, Guardiola did speak only last month about how he was eager to see the forward in action.
“Next year he’ll be in preseason, for sure.” said Guardiola. “I learn from the players and I want to see him on the pitch, with his teammates, with what we want to do. If we were not convinced of this, we wouldn’t have signed.”
Alvarez will therefore hope he can do enough to impress the City boss during the summer in order to avoid becoming somewhat of a forgotten man before his career at the Etihad has even got going.