Erling Haaland to Manchester City: How can Pep Guardiola get the best out of Haaland?
Manchester City have finally landed Europe's most sought-after striker, Erling Haaland, putting an end to Pep Guardiola's year-long search for a natural striker.
Will Erling Haaland be able to integrate with Pep Guardiola and his playing style and score goals for Man City as he did in the Bundesliga?
Switch from Bundesliga to Premier League
Once Haaland makes his Premier League debut, he will be thrust into a new environment and mood. And if you don't make an impact in the first 4-5 games, the English media and fans will savagely criticise you.
The Norwegian is joining a squad that dominates the game, plays possession-based football, and has the most touches in the box, with his job being to score goals. He'll be fed the ball by world-class players. However, the focus is on how Haaland will carry out the strategy.
A team like City doesn't rely on individual brilliance; instead, they work together to create space, which requires a great deal of patience and game management to draw the opponent's player out of position and exploit the team's numerical advantage.
How will Erling Haaland fit in the Pep Guardiola style of play at Man City?
The role of Erling Haaland under Pep Guardiola at Man City will provide midfielders more flexibility since the striker will utilise his placement as bait to create space in the box.
Haaland has fantastic movement with the ball, and his positioning will assist the players to create more space. Still, he will be irritated by the fact that City players rely on passing the ball until they find enough room to feed the striker, which results in a goal.
Sergio Aguero complained last season that he didn't get much ball in the area because he had to go deep.
Before Guardiola's arrival, he averaged almost 50 touches per 90 minutes, before going down to 40 touches the previous season. But Sergio Aguero matched Pep's criteria by being City's leading scorer despite playing less games.
If you follow Guardiola's system, you must have the tenacity, discipline, and mental fortitude to wait for the proper opportunity to pounce on a midfielder's pass.
Erling Haaland is tall, physically strong, and has the ability to outmuscle his opponents. Since 2019/20, he has averaged 36.5 touches per 90 minutes, the fewest among forwards in the Champions League. He will likely sit deep and wait for the ball to arrive.
The framework will shift, and Haaland will need some time to adjust to the City's style of play.
But he is more like a one-time finisher who thrives in vast space and can also finish in tight spaces. He scored with a one-touch finish in each of Dortmund's first eight games, demonstrating that he can whisk off in a flash.
Plus, he'll be fed by top-class players in the midfield with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, and Phil Foden.
However, City will lose their build-up play for the natural striker, which will be a disadvantage. As Guardiola navigated his total possession-based style by bringing in an extra offensive midfielder when Aguero was regularly demoted.
In Manchester City, the Norwegian's presence will be different, and Pep Guardiola will help Erling Haaland develop. The Dortmund forward is well aware that he will be playing for Europe's top team, and his contributions will be invaluable.