21-year-old Norwegian striker Erling Haaland has agreed to join soccer giants Manchester City this summer.
Haaland, currently playing for German club Borussia Dortmund, has been highly touted virtually since he arrived on the scene, amassing 61 goals and 19 assists in 66 Bundesliga— the German league— matches, along with 23 goals and three assists in nine Champions League matches.
The future-City player also once scored nine goals in an under-20 World Cup match against Honduras. He has already been pegged as a future Ballon d’Or winner and is expected to thrive at his new club, the reigning English Premier League champions and consensus top-three team in the world.
Erling Haaland headed to Manchester
Erling Haaland’s name has swirled in transfer rumors for the past couple of seasons as the young megastar was heavily linked to Chelsea, Manchester United, and Real Madrid. Chelsea came the closest to agreeing on a deal for him last summer, though his parent club turned down their £130m ($160.2m) offering, hoping that he would ignore outside interest and remain in Germany.
There is a release clause in Haaland’s contract, however, which can be triggered this Summer for somewhere around €75m ($79.1m). Previous reports indicated that Haaland and former representative Mino Raiola, since deceased, were looking for a £1m ($1.2m) weekly salary, though it now appears as if he will not surpass Kevin de Bruyne’s £375,000 ($462,000) standard.
Haaland’s arrival in Central England will complete manager Pep Guardiola’s search for a striker, following his inability to find a deal for Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane. City has not had a true number-nine talisman since Sergio Aguero’s prime days, as Gabriel Jesus failed to lock down the spot and a medical condition forced Aguero to retire.
Checking the crystal ball
Manchester City plays the most aesthetically pleasing style of football in the world. Every part of the team is connected, the players work for one another, the attacking patterns are intricate and effective, and the defensive structure is resolute— adding Haaland, a notorious goal-scorer, into the mix could be the kiss of death to the rest of the Premier League and world soccer.
Haaland, a 6-foot-4 bruiser with long legs, has supreme pace, strength, and finishing ability. He is not as much of a threat with his head as expected, but he can finish comfortably with either foot and has a relentless passion that causes him to pursue every half-chance with the fullest conviction. The 21-year-old even seems mad in matches where he does not score, or even scores but lets other chances go before him.
City has won three of the last four Premier League titles and is headed for another triumph, provided they can successfully navigate their last four matches. With challenging teams like Liverpool potentially being forced to let go of key players, due to age and contracts, and Chelsea needing to revamp its entire squad. City is primed to take an even tighter hold on the league now that they have a real striker— a figure they have not played with all season.