Why was Man City’s signing of Erling Haaland so important?

City have already started their summer transfer business.

By Press Association Published: 11 May 2022 - 10.23am

Manchester City have already pulled off one of the transfer coups of the summer with confirmation they have agreed a deal with Borussia Dortmund for the signing of Erling Haaland.

The boyhood City fan and son of former player Alf-Inge Haaland finally answers City’s need for a striker to replace Sergio Aguero, and registers as a huge statement signing.

Here the PA news agency looks at what it might all mean for City.

– Is this City’s biggest ever signing?

Manchester City v Liverpool – Emirates FA Cup – Semi Final – Wembley Stadium
Jack Grealish is City’s record signing and one of several players to have cost more than the Haaland deal (Nick Potts/PA)

Ruben Dias, Rodri, Riyad Mahrez, Joao Cancelo, Aymeric Laporte and Kevin De Bruyne all cost more too.

– What kind of statement does his signing make?
This feels bigger than the arrival of Sergio Aguero from Atletico Madrid in 2011, or the deadline day deal for Robinho that heralded the start of the revolution under Sheikh Mansour’s ownership.

City have beaten the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich to sign a player that pretty much all of Europe wanted and whose goalscoring prowess could be the missing piece in their pursuit of Champions League glory.

– Why was signing a striker so important?

Christmas Package 2021
City have not had an out-and-out striker since Sergio Aguero’s departure (Carl Recine/PA)

This season Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Mahrez and Ferran Torres have all played as a false nine, but now City have a real one.

– How will he be accommodated into the starting XI?
Pep Guardiola must sacrifice an attacking midfielder – and potentially some of the control that brings – but will get a goal machine in return.

The change in shape could also benefit academy product Liam Delap, 19, who will have a more obvious place in the team as Haaland’s back-up.

– When will we first get to see him in a City shirt?

Assuming the countless images on social media of a young Haaland wearing over-sized City shirts throughout his youth do not count, the first chance will come on July 20 – when Guardiola’s side take on Mexican side Club America in Houston during their United States tour.

– When is that?

City fans will need to set an alarm as kick-off is 1.30am UK time on the morning of July 21, which is also Haaland’s 22nd birthday.

– What shirt number will he wear?

ManCity v Leeds Haaland
Haaland’s father Alf wore number 15 in his City days (Nick Potts/PA)

Haaland has worn various shirt numbers in his career – including number 17, 23 and 30 – but his favoured one is clearly nine, which he wears for both Dortmund and Norway. That is currently occupied by Gabriel Jesus at City, although the Brazilian has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal this summer.

One other sentimental option could be the vacant number 15, Haaland’s father’s number during his Maine Road days.

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