Erling Haaland isn’t the answer to Manchester City’s striker problem

Erling Haaland is a world-class striker, but he would be a poor fit for the system Pep Guardiola employs at Manchester City. 

Manchester City’s failure to pry Harry Kane away from Tottenham this summer leaves Pep Guardiola without a top-notch No. 9 to deploy in big matches. That’s why the Premier League giants are tipped to make a big-money move for Erling Haaland in next summer’s transfer window.

According to Goal, City will focus their attention on either Haaland, Kane, or Kylian Mbappe at the conclusion of the current campaign. All three are terrifically talented strikers that are worthy of City’s attention.

The issue with Haaland is that he’s a poor stylistic fit with Guardiola’s style of tiki-taka football. That’s why City need to look elsewhere to find their ideal striker.

What’s wrong with Erling Haaland?

Nothing is wrong with the Borussia Dortmund striker, his specific talents just don’t line up well with the way City want to play. Haaland is at his best when he’s free to use his dynamic athleticism to create scoring chances in space. City’s possession of the football would naturally compress the room he has to work with on a regular basis.

In some ways, Haaland is best suited to play for a side that like to feature counterattacking football. He’s devastating for Dortmund in the open field when they win the ball and quickly transition it into the attacking third. That’s where Haaland can take advantage of his exceptional combination of size and speed.

None of this is to say that he wouldn’t score a lot of goals for City. A striker of his quality is always going to find ways to put the ball into the back of the net. The point is that Haaland would see many of his best attributes neutralized playing in Guardiola’s system.

That’s why City need to focus their attention on centre forwards that can see their talents enhanced by the way they like to play. Kane would be a perfect addition but there’s no indication Tottenham will be willing to sell.

Mbappe seems like the perfect solution for City, but he may have his heart set on a sensational move to Real Madrid. That’s why it’s still very likely that Guardiola and company will move for Haaland despite the awkward nature of his fit.

It may be up to Haaland to realize that a move to City isn’t the best way to further his career. Time will tell if the young striker has the self-awareness to turn down Guardiola and company when the time comes.

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