Spurs’ Jekyll and Hyde act shows Man City should not be distracted from Erling Haaland pursuit – Alex Brotherton

Manchester City have been linked with Erling Haaland for months now, but if the latest reports coming out of Spain are anything to go by, they may actually now be in pole position to sign a Borussia Dortmund striker.

According to Spanish outlet BE SPORTS, Real Madrid – long touted as the next destination for Haaland – believe that the 21-year-old will choose to join City instead. That is mainly because Los Blancos will sign Kylian Mbappe as a free agent this summer and cannot afford to take on both wages during the same window. They want him to stay at Dortmund for another year and then move to the Bernabeu but believe City will provide too good an option to resist.

However, as was seen in City’s chaotic 3-2 defeat to Tottenham last weekend, Harry Kane would also fit right in at the Etihad Stadium. But which would suit Pep Guardiola’s side best?

Erling Haland

The pros to signing Haaland are obvious; he scores goals and plenty of them. Since joining Dortmund in January 2020, the Norwegian striker has scored 80 goals in 79 games, a phenomenal return for any player, never mind one who is still just 21 years old.

There are few attackers in the world – if any – who can claim to be as lethal and reliable in front of goal, two qualities that Guardiola’s largely brilliant City are perhaps slightly lacking.

SINSHEIM, GERMANY - JANUARY 22: Erling Haaland (R) of Dortmund is injured during the Bundesliga match between TSG Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund at PreZero-Arena on January 22, 2022 in Sinsheim, Germany.  (Photo by Markus Gilliar/GES-Sportfoto/Getty Images)
Erling Haaland supported Manchester City as a boy.

Haaland also has age on his side. By the start of next season, he’ll be 22, meaning that he will have at least eight years at the top of the game, probably even more. If City were to meet his relatively modest release clause of £64m, it would be an investment for now and the future.

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However, there are a few concerns and unknowns to consider.

Haaland is clearly an elite striker, but he is the focal point of a more direct team at Dortmund. His teammates from him play to serve him, with Haaland using his pace to make runs in behind defenders and his physical strength from him to win the ball and play in his teammates. This, along with his passing and build-up play of him could do with some work, raises questions about his suitability of him to City’s and Guardiola’s style. But at such a young age, Haaland would have plenty of time to improve and adapt.

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harry kane

In case anyone needed reminding, Kane showed just how good he can be when Spurs shocked City at the Etihad Stadium last weekend. The England captain provided a constant thorn in City’s side, dropping deep off the front line to create from deep, with Rodri unable to do anything to stop him.

His two goals were typical of his natural goal-scoring instincts, showing just the kind of striking presence that City sometimes lacks inside the six-yard box.

However, if Kane joined City a year after Daniel Levy blocked his transfer, he would find playing in this City team quite different.

Against the Blues, Kane excelled when dropping into a No.10 role, feeding the runs of Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski as Spurs looked to hit City on the counter. A Pep Guardiola side doesn’t play like that way. Instead, they keep the ball and build attacks patiently, often picking apart compact, deep-lying defenses.

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On Wednesday, Spurs came up against one of those in the form of Burnley and ultimately lost 1-0. Kane hit the crossbar with a header from a free-kick, but it was clear that he was not as effective in a side with the lion’s share of possession and was faced with an organized defense.

Kane’s build-up play may be very good, but would he be that effective at City if he plays better in counter-attacking sides?

Those question marks, combined with his age and history of injury lay-offs, suggest that City perhaps ignore the wounds Kane recently inflicted on them and instead double down on signing Haaland.

Would you rather City signed Erling Haaland or Harry Kane? Follow our City Is Ours writer Alex Brotherton on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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