Erling Haaland’s projected deal to Manchester City is approaching completion, according to several publications throughout Europe, including Sky Germany, The Athletic, and transfer analyst Fabrizio Romano.
The majority of stories refer to the transfer as a “done deal.” According to Sky Germany, Man City CEO Ferran Soriano and Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke met last week, with City invoking the player’s contract release provision. Meanwhile, indications suggest that he will finish his relocation this week.
Since breaking onto the spotlight with RB Salzburg in 2020, the 21-year-old Borussia Dortmund striker has been one of Europe’s most prolific goal scorers. During his three-year stint in the Bundesliga, Haaland scored almost at will, and he is regarded as one of the finest young players in the world.
Personal terms were settled in April, according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, and conversations between the teams have been “cordial.” With little debate, City are poised to pay the Norwegian international’s $79 million release clause. According to Sky Germany, the release clause requires the transfer price to be paid in one flat amount.
Erling Haaland to Manchester City, here we go! Haaland has passed medical tests as new Man City player today, he’s back in Dortmund. It will be OFFICIAL this week 🚨🔵 #MCFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 9, 2022
Man City told BVB board that they will activate release clause [closer to €60m than €75m] in few hours. pic.twitter.com/heYobi8S1Y
Why did Erling Haaland choose Manchester City?
The $79 million transfer price City will pay for Haaland’s signature, as mandated by his contract release clause, seems to be a pittance for a player of his age, quality, and goal-scoring ability. This gave Haaland and his representatives complete control over negotiations for personal terms.
And it sparked a bidding war between Europe’s premier teams to entice Haaland with the biggest money and the best possibility of winning trophies, which resulted in Haaland joining City. Other teams, including Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester United, have been connected to Haaland at different times over the past year, but none have the mix of available cash, squad depth, and European prestige like Man City has.
Here are some of the reasons why Haaland at Man City makes sense:
Man City andErling Haaland’s contract
As previously said, money is an important factor in Haaland’s move to Manchester City. Because of the low release clause, Haaland will demand a sizable salary in addition to the signing bonus.
Kevin de Bruyne is Manchester City’s highest-paid player, earning about $500,000 per week, for annual pay of roughly $25.5 million.
With additional information expected in the coming weeks, English tabloid The Daily Mail claims that City’s offer to Haaland would not only exceed De Bruyne’s but would also make Haaland the highest-paid player in the Premier League. The sum is said to be in excess of $618,000 per week, dwarfing even De Bruyne’s club record.
Haaland’s father was a Manchester City player
Furthermore, Haaland has a close familial tie to the club.
Haaland was born in Leeds, where his father, Alf-Inge Haaland, played for Leeds United from 1997 to 2000. Alf-Inge relocated to Manchester City in 2000, and Erling spent his childhood there.
The older Haaland made 38 appearances for the club in three seasons, usually as a right-back or in midfield, scoring three goals. He departed to play three more seasons in his home Norway before retiring, but his ties to Manchester were undoubtedly strong.
The best choice for winning the Champions League
Erling Haaland’s goalscoring record in the Champions League did not differ much from that of his home league, but the team’s overall performance did. Haaland failed to move beyond the quarterfinals in each of his three seasons at Borussia Dortmund.
Manchester City should alter this. Haaland will be an important part of the equation as the English club attempts to finally get the Champions League monkey off its back after reaching the knockout stage in each of the previous nine seasons and going at least to the quarterfinals in the last five.
Semifinal and final exits in the previous two seasons have been difficult for City supporters to take, but for Haaland, they represent a significant improvement over where he’s been as well as an opportunity to become a long-remembered character at a club trying to win its first Champions League trophy.
Haaland and his Ballon d’Or ambitions
If Haaland can help City win the Champions League and other trophies in 2022-23, he might be in line for the prized Ballon d’Or right away.
He’ll be 23 by the time the Ballon d’Or is awarded in 2023. And, although he wouldn’t be the youngest champion — that honor goes to Brazilian striker Ronaldo, who was 21 years and 96 days old when he won in 1997 — he’d be in excellent company. Lionel Messi and Michael Owen both won their first Ballon d’Or at the age of 22, and both went on to have successful careers.
Haaland will gain the worldwide exposure he needs at Manchester City to become one of the world’s most known players. And he has a serious chance of becoming Manchester City’s first Ballon d’Or winner – De Bruyne has been on the shortlist many times as a City player and will undoubtedly be in the race again this season.
With a plethora of offensive talent on the City roster, Haaland should have the goals, trophies, media attention, and supporting cast to make a serious run at the coveted accolade in the years until his contract with Man City ends in 2027.
How will Erling Haaland fit with Man City?
Given his fast-paced style of play and finishing ability, the 21-year-old seems a perfect match for Man City, but there are still unanswered issues.
Man City are one of the most possession-oriented teams in the world, which aligns with Dortmund’s approach to a lesser level. This season, Germany controlled 59 percent of the Bundesliga and more than 60 percent of the Champions League group stage.
City’s efficiency, on the other hand, has been a problem considering the club’s offensive volume. City has gone most of the season without a genuine center striker, with Pep Guardiola unable to replace star Sergio Aguero since his departure. The acquisition of Haaland will necessitate a return to the formation with Aguero, which may create some tactical turbulence within Guardiola’s plans.
While Manchester City’s goal conversion percentage of 13.8 percent this season is the highest in the Premier League, it’s a long cry from Dortmund’s 19 percent, which has been driven by Haaland’s finishing. In all three Bundesliga seasons, the 21-year-old has outperformed his anticipated goals (xG) total, scoring 61 league goals on a 48.29 xG total. His +4.95 differential this season is only surpassed in league play by RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku, whose +5.98 mark was earned over 800 more league minutes than Haaland.
His touch efficiency is also much superior than everyone else at City right now. In his 23 Bundesliga games this season, Haaland generated 65 non-blocked shots on 150 touches in the opposing penalty area, for a shot-to-touch percentage of 43 percent. With 24 percent of his touches in the penalty area, he created a shot on goal. Haaland is a shooting machine, and when he gets touches in advanced situations, he often puts the opposing goalkeeper to the test.
Meanwhile, Man City’s four-player offensive combination — Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, and Phil Foden — had 601 touches in the opponent penalty area, creating 165 non-blocked shots at a 27 percent rate. Even including blocked shots reduces the four-player combination to 37% (compared to Haaland’s 43%).
Add Erling Haaland to Manchester City's squad for next season and it already looks ridiculous 😳 pic.twitter.com/2A6ray2iRI— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 9, 2022
Will Haaland shine in the Premier League?
Without a doubt, Haaland’s early career has been aided by the Bundesliga’s prolific offensive style, but he’s a fantastic talent who should easily adjust.
According to the advanced analytics website SmarterScout, which allows comparison of a player’s performance to another league’s benchmark, Haaland’s attacking output in the Bundesliga over the last two seasons places him in the 84th and 88th percentiles when compared to the Premier League benchmark, and his figures for both receiving the ball in the opposition box and shooting are in the 90th percentile or higher.
When compared to the Premier League, his shooting percentage from the previous season (2020-21) was in the 99th percentile.
Haaland also excelled in aerial duels, especially from dead-ball situations, making him a threatening presence in front of goal on set-pieces as well as in midfield off goal kicks.
It may take some time for Haaland to acclimate to a new league and a manager who gives his men precise and intricate instructions for a certain style, but at 21 years old, Haaland should grow into one of Europe’s most deadly attackers, if he hasn’t already.