Examining why a move to Man City would hurt Erling Haaland’s career

It’s no surprise that the closer we get to the summer of 2021, the more the noise around the future of Erling Haaland increases. Norway’s prolific striker has a line of suitors showing interest in him and with a relatively small release clause of just £64 million set to activate in July 2022, it seems a given that Borussia Dortmund will look to sell to the highest bidder in order to maximize their profit on him. Indeed, Dortmund could stand to gain £130 million from the sale of Haaland, around double what he would go for 12 months later.

There have been rumours doing the rounds that suggest that Haaland’s agent, Mino Raiola, has already met with Barcelona and Real Madrid in order to establish the ground rules for a potential deal. Raiola has dismissed that as fake news but it’s often a case of smoke and mirrors with the 53-year-old super-agent. At the very least, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where Raiola hasn’t begun some form of talks with interested parties given that the summer is only a few months away.

Interestingly, despite very real interest from Spain, it is believed that Haaland’s destination of choice is actually Manchester City. Indeed, the 20-year-old is reportedly keen on a move to the Etihad Stadium, and with City at just 2/1 in football betting to win the Champions League, few can accuse Haaland of chasing the money and not trophies now that City are genuine European contenders. But would it be the right move for the young sensation? Perhaps not.

One just needs to cast their mind back to the situation that initially developed between Pep Guardiola and Sergio Aguero after the Spaniard succeeded Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City. The initial problem was that the 32-year-old didn’t press with the vigour that the ever- demanding Guardiola insisted on.

Remarkably, Aguero, a cult hero amongst the City fans, was left out in the cold until he bought into Guardiola’s uncompromising style of football, something that left him increasingly frustrated. Indeed, it took a while for the Argentine to come around to his manager’s way of thinking but in the end, he did, which of course prolonged his City career.

These days, you’ll see a committed Aguero dropping deep in order to win the ball back instead of camping in the final third. His work rate has dramatically increased from the pre- Guardiola days and he contributes extremely well to any link-up play during the build-up. What does this have to do with Haaland you say? Well, an extraordinary amount.

Unlike how Aguero initially was, Haaland doesn’t mind dropping deep to get the ball but the problem is, his contribution away from the final third is quite poor. The Norweigan often gives the ball away and is consistently battling to hold onto possession around the halfway line. Indeed, when out of possession and away from the opposition's box, the 6ft 4 striker adds very little. This is something that Dortmund knows well and instead, they have just given him the license to focus on finding the back of the net. Now, given how uncompromising Guardiola is about his strikers joining the press and keeping possession in midfield, would Haaland’s effectiveness be strangled if he joined Manchester City?

Guardiola naturally wouldn't sign a player that didn’t have the necessary attributes to contribute towards his philosophy and perhaps he will feel that he can improve Haaland’s all- around play. Irrespective of that, however, there is genuine concern that a move to City could stunt the progress of the most free-scoring striker the world has seen for a long while.