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Haaland to Manchester City: Reactions

Talk finally turned to action on Tuesday when Erling Haaland and Manchester City came to an agreement, leaving other clubs disappointed and a bit fearful.

Jennifer Bubel

Now that it’s nearly official, Erling Haaland’s move to Manchester City means different things for different clubs.

The Premier League released this in a statement on Tuesday:

“Manchester City can confirm we have reached an agreement in principle with Borussia Dortmund for the transfer of striker Erling Haaland to the Club on 1st July 2022. The transfer remains subject to the Club finalising terms with the player.”

Barcelona, one of the interested clubs in Haaland, but would never have been able to afford him anyway, but his move to City also lowers their chances of picking up Robert Lewandowski, who Bayern is unlikely to let go.

“It’s impossible for us to compete right now, economically, when you talk about figures this high” said Barcelona head coach Xavi. “I wish Haaland the very best.”

Barcelona does intend to keep Ousmane Dembele though, who has 10 league assists for Barcelona in 2022, the most across Europe’s top five leagues.

“Soccer is not just about goals,” said Xavi. “It’s about defending, goalkeeping, and giving assists. He can make a difference with an assist and Dembele has done that often, especially when the team was playing badly and he stood up to be counted. He is a player who makes a difference.”

Liverpool head coach Jürgen Klopp called the Haaland move “unfortunately, really good”. He said that Haaland, who has only once gone three Bundesliga games in a row without scoring, is a “real beast” when he’s not injured.

“City was never and will never be a team that wins games because of one player,” Klopp said. “They have a specific way they play and I think Erling will realize that all of a sudden he will score a lot of goals on the second post where he just puts a foot on it. He will love that.”

When Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel was asked what advice he would give Haaland, he nearly spit out his water laughing. “Me? Giving advice to Haaland? No advice. No advice,” said Tuchel, smiling. “If he does not play for us, I will not give any advice.”

Haaland’s impact

This season, Haaland has scored a league goal every 86.9 minutes, the third-highest return of any player in Europe’s top five leagues with 10 or more goals. The 21-year-old netted his 50th Bundesliga goal in November, reaching that milestone faster (50 games) and younger (21 years, 4 months, 6 days) than anyone else. Of the 12 players to have scored 20 or more league goals in Europe’s top five leagues this season, Haaland has missed the fewest big chances (five).

“His all-round game for somebody so young is already so much better, and that’s only going to improve,” said former Manchester City player Paul Dickov.

“I think it’ll be a positive that Erling Haaland will be in there occupying two center-halves, with everything else going on around him, whereas sometimes center-halves don’t have to worry about that because of the way Manchester City play,” said Dickov. “Now they’re going to have a world-class striker to worry about as well as everything else going on around them.”


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