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?
Not in terms of the numbers. The release clause in Haaland’s Dortmund contract means City will pay £51million for the 21-year-old, only just over half what Jack Grealish cost in his move from Aston Villa last summer.
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?
City have not played with an orthodox striker since Aguero’s exit last summer, and arguably much longer given the Argentinian’s injury problems for the final part of his otherwise brilliant career with the club.
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?
🇺🇸 City in the States! 🇺🇸
The first stop on our pre-season trip will be the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas to take on Club América on 20th July!
Tap for details 👇
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 25, 2022
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?
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.