Premier League giant Manchester City confirms it will sign Norwegian star Erling Haaland

Manchester City has agreed to sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, bringing in one of the world’s most exciting young players as a belated replacement for club great Sergio Aguero.

In a brief statement on Tuesday, the Premier League champions said 21-year-old Haaland would join City on July 1, subject to personal terms being finalised.

The Norway striker will cost 60 million euros ($91 million) after City activated the release clause in his Dortmund contract.

He is set to sign a five-year contract with the club he supported as a child and for whom his father, Alf-Inge, played from 2000-03.

Along with Kylian Mbappe, Haaland is leading the new generation of soccer superstars ready to take over from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

A tall, powerful and fast centre forward, he has claimed 85 goals in 88 games for Dortmund since joining from Austrian club Salzburg in January 2020. And last year he became the youngest player to reach 20 goals in the Champions League.

Loading

Haaland, who had also been linked with a move to Real Madrid, could be the headline signing that lifts City from being a regular winner of domestic trophies to the stand-out team in Europe.

Pep Guardiola’s team has failed to win the Champions League despite heavy spending by the club’s Abu Dhabi ownership.

City has played without an out-and-out striker this season following the departure of Aguero, its record scorer, at the end of the 2020-21 campaign after 10 years.

The team’s lack of a natural goal-scorer has shown in some big matches this season, notably when getting eliminated by Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals despite scoring five goals across two legs.

In a sense, Haaland is returning home. He was born in England — in Leeds, which is a short drive from Manchester in the north of the country — while his father was playing for City in the Premier League. As a kid, Erling Haaland was pictured wearing a City jersey.

Haaland’s father, Alf Inge Haaland, played for Manchester City from 2000 to 2003.(ALLSPORT: Alex Livesey )

At a news conference held a few hours before City’s announcement, Guardiola dropped hints that Haaland was on his way to the City of Manchester Stadium but said he could not say what he really wanted to.

In the wake of the announcement, some of his new teammates welcomed Haaland via social media.

City defender Aymeric Laporte was clearly happy about the signing, tweeting: “Happy not to be running after this guy for the next couple of years. Welcome Erling.”

Loading

City’s rivals did more talking on what could be the biggest transfer ahead of next season.

“This transfer will set new levels, let me say it like this,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, whose team is fighting with City to win the league title this season.

The deal has survived the recent death of Haaland’s agent, Mino Raiola, who was widely seen as one of global soccer’s most influential powerbrokers.

Raiola and Alfe-Inge Haaland had long talked about a big-money transfer for Erling Haaland to one of Europe’s biggest clubs, though the coronavirus pandemic meant those teams have had less to spend.

City tried to sign Tottenham striker Harry Kane in the last off-season and, when that did not come off, contemplated bidding for Ronaldo before the Portugal forward sealed a return to Manchester United.

City, which is favourite to win the Premier League this season to make it six top-flight titles in the past 11 years, has ended up signing a player with the best years ahead of him and who is almost unstoppable at times. His rivalry with Bayern Munich’s record-breaking goal-scorer, Robert Lewandowski, has lit up the Bundesliga.

Loading

In less than three years, the Norwegian has gone from being a promising but little-known youngster in the Austrian league to one of the world’s most sought-after players.

He burst onto the scene with a barely believable nine goals in a game for Norway at the 2019 Under-20 World Cup and scored a hat-trick on his Champions League debut for Salzburg against Brugge the same year.

That form earned him a transfer to Dortmund, where he has become known for his offbeat and sometimes prickly persona in interviews.

Jesse Marsch, the Leeds manager who used to coach Haaland at Salzburg, said City was getting someone “destined to be one of the best players in the world”.

“It will be interesting. He is an explosive player in transition and Man City often plays a lot in possession, [but] he can play any style of play.”

AP

Reference-www.abc.net.au

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.