According to multiple reports across Europe, including from Sky Germany, The Athletic and transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Erling Haaland’s anticipated transfer to Manchester City is nearing a conclusion.
Most of the reports are referring to the move as a “done deal.” Sky Germany states that Man City CEO Ferran Soriano and Borussia Dortmund chief Hans-Joachim Watzke spoke last week, with City triggering the player’s contract release clause. Meanwhile, reports indicate the move will be completed this coming week.
The 21-year-old Borussia Dortmund striker has been one of the most prolific goal scorers in Europe since bursting onto the scene with RB Salzburg in 2020. His three-year spell in the Bundesliga has seen Haaland score virtually at will, and he is considered one of the best young players in the world.
The Athletic’s David Ornstein reports that personal terms were completed back in April and that talks between the clubs have been “cordial.” City are expected to pay the Norwegian international’s $79 million release clause with little discussion. Sky Germany reports that the release clause stipulates the transfer fee must be paid in one lump sum installment.
🚨 Erling Haaland to Man City a done deal + confirmation expected this week, according to sources in Germany. Personal terms complete & Dortmund anticipate City informing them in coming days of intention to activate release clause @TheAthleticUK #MCFC #BVB https://t.co/tx8kUxjLkF
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) May 9, 2022
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
Man City told BVB board that they will activate release clause [closer to €60m than €75m] in few hours. pic.twitter.com/heYobi8S1Y
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 9, 2022
Why is Erling Haaland joining Man City?
The $79 million transfer fee City will pay for Haaland’s signature, as stipulated by his contract release clause, feels like a low sum for a player of his youth, talent, and goalscoring prowess. This allowed Haaland and his agents possessed all the leverage in negotiations for personal terms.
And it set up a bidding war between Europe’s top clubs attempting to lure Haaland with the most money and best chance at trophies, ultimately concluding with Haaland joining City. While other clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester United were linked to Haaland at various points over the last year, neither had the combination of available funds, squad depth, and European status that Man City possesses.
Here’s a list of some of the reasons Haaland at Man City makes sense:
Erling Haaland contract with Man City
As mentioned above, money is a key part of Haaland’s transfer to Man City. Thanks to the low release clause, Haaland will command significant money on a contractual basis alongside the signing-on bonus.
Kevin de Bruyne is Man City’s highest earner, with a weekly salary of nearly $500,000, amounting to an annual salary of around $25.5 million.
With more details likely forthcoming in the weeks ahead, English tabloid The Daily Mail has claimed that City’s offer to Haaland would not only top De Bruyne’s mark, but would make Haaland the highest-paid player in the Premier League. The figure is reportedly north of $618,000 per week, dwarfing even De Bruyne’s club-high number.
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 9, 2022
Best chance for Champions League success
Erling Haaland’s goalscoring record in the Champions League didn’t dip a bit from his domestic league levels, but the overall team’s performance did. With Borussia Dortmund, Haaland failed to advance past the quarterfinals in any of his three seasons.
That should change at Manchester City. Haaland will be a big part of the equation as the English club looks to finally get the Champions League monkey off its back, having reached the knockout stage in each of the last nine seasons and advancing at least to the quarterfinals in each of the past five.
Semifinal and final disappointments each of the last two seasons are tough for City fans to swallow, but for Haaland they represent a marked improvement over where he’s been as well as a chance to become a long-remembered figure at a club hoping to secure its first Champions League title.
Haaland’s father played at Man City
In addition, Haaland has an important family connection with the club.
His father, Alf-Inge Haaland, played for Leeds United from 1997-2000, and Haaland was born in Leeds. Alf-Inge moved to Man City in 2000, and Erling spent his youngest years in Manchester.
In his three seasons for the club playing mostly as a right-back or in midfield, the elder Haaland made 38 appearances, scoring three goals. He left to play three more seasons in his native Norway before retirement, but a connection to Manchester was clearly well-established.
Erling Haaland’s father Alf Inge Haaland has played a major role in Erling’s transfer to #ManCity.
— Manchestericonic™ (@manchestriconic) April 19, 2022
Can’t wait for all the ‘he chose City for the money’ tweets! pic.twitter.com/jtWGIXAEJ9
— Steven (@StevenMcinerney) May 9, 2022
Haaland’s Ballon d’Or chase at Man City
If Haaland can help City win the Champions League and other silverware in 2022-23, he could have a chance at the coveted Ballon d’Or from the start.
He’ll be 23 by the time the 2023 Ballon d’Or is handed out. And while he wouldn’t be the youngest ever winner — that’s Brazilian forward Ronaldo who won the award at 21 years and 96 days old in 1997 — he would definitely be in good company. Both Lionel Messi and Michael Owen won their first Ballon d’Or as 22 years old, and both went on to have memorable careers.
At Man City, Haaland will get the global exposure he needs to become one of the world’s most recognized players. And he can realistically strive to be Man City’s first-ever Ballon d’Or winner — De Bruyne has appeared on the shortlist multiple times as a City player and will surely be in the running again for this coming season.
With a wealth of attacking talent on the City squad, Haaland should have the goals, trophies, media attention, and the supporting cast around him to make a serious run at the prestigious award in the years until his Man City contract expires in 2027.
Haaland’s chance to play for Pep Guardiola
While Guardiola’s recent Champions League disappointments have drawn some criticism, there’s no debating that the Spaniard is one of the most successful and beloved managers in world football.
Having managed the likes of Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski, and Sergio Aguero among others, Pep Guardiola should represent a big draw for Haaland who can learn under the Man City boss and flourish in a similar manner.
With reports that Guardiola could be in line for a contract extension soon, Haaland’s time at Man City could be marked by managerial consistency and prove a tactical education for the 21-year-old.
Haaland’s personal brand boost in Premier League
It’s no secret that England’s top flight is the most-watched league in the world, and that should be alluring to a 21-year-old budding superstar.
Playing for a team that dominates the Premier League on a weekly basis, winning five of the last 10 league titles and finishing as runners-up in another two during that span, Haaland would have a unique chance to build worldwide exposure. If the young Norwegian hopes to reach the levels of brand names like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, this is a critical component of his next destination.
If Haaland can be the goal-scoring force in the Premier League that he was in Germany’s Bundesliga, the buzz around his name, the endorsement opportunities, and his overall global profile will rival that of any player in the game.
⏳ Time to get excited, #MCFC fans! 🤩
— 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐍𝐞𝐰𝐬 UK 🇬🇧 (@sportingnewsuk) May 9, 2022
How does Erling Haaland fit at Man City?
The 21-year-old is a natural fit at Man City given his fast-paced style of play and finishing prowess, but there are questions that remain.
Man City are one of the most possession-oriented teams in the entire world, and to a lesser extent that tracks with Dortmund’s style as well. The German side held 59 percent possession in Bundesliga play this season, and over 60 percent in Champions League group stage play.
City’s efficiency, however, has been a weakness given the attacking volume the club creates. City has played much of this season without a true central striker on the roster, with Pep Guardiola not replacing talisman Sergio Aguero since his departure. Haaland’s arrival will require a reversion back to the setup with Aguero in the team, which could cause some tactical upheaval within Guardiola’s plans.
While Man City’s 13.8 percent goal conversion rate this season is tops in the Premier League, it’s a far cry from Dortmund’s 19 percent, fueled by Haaland’s finishing. The 21-year-old has outshined his expected goals (xG) total in all three Bundesliga seasons, collecting 61 league goals on a 48.29 xG total. His +4.95 differential this season alone is only outdone in league play by stellar RB Leipzig frontman Christopher Nkunku whose +5.98 mark was achieved across 800 more league minutes than Haaland collected.
His touch efficiency is also far better than anyone else currently at City. In his 23 Bundesliga appearances this season, Haaland produced 65 non-blocked shots on 150 touches in the opposition penalty area, a whopping 43 percent shot to touch rate. He produced a shot on target with 24 percent of his touches in the penalty area. Haaland is a shot machine, and when he gets touches in advanced positions, it often results in a test for the opposition goalkeeper.
Meanwhile, Man City’s four-player combination that were most utilized in a purely attacking role — Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, and Phil Foden — collected 601 touches in the opposition penalty area, producing 165 non-blocked shots, a 27 percent rate. Even adding blocked shots only gets the four player combo to 37 percent (compared to Haaland’s 43 percent).
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
How will Erling Haaland do in the Premier League?
There’s no question that Haaland’s early career has been slightly boosted by the Bundesliga’s prolific attacking style, but he’s an incredible talent who should easily make the transition.
According to advanced analytics website SmarterScout, which allows comparison of a player’s performances to another league’s benchmark, Haaland’s attacking output in the Bundesliga over the last two seasons puts him in the 84th and 88th percentile when compared to the Premier League benchmark, and his figures of both receiving the ball in the opposition box and shooting are in the 90th percentile or above.
His shooting mark from last season (2020-21) received a 99th percentile mark when compared to the Premier League.
Haaland also received high marks in aerial duels, particularly from dead ball situations, making him a dangerous presence in front of net on set pieces as well as in midfield off goal kicks.
It may take time for Haaland to adjust to a new league, playing for a manager who gives specific and complicated instructions to his players for a particular style, but at 21 years old, Haaland should develop into one of the most fearsome strikers in Europe, if he hasn’t already.