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Erling Haaland chooses path of least impact in signing with Manchester City

Transfer wars

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FC Bayern München v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

In the post-Messi era of football, the two biggest and most coveted goal-scoring stars of the game are probably Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland. And one of them is set to play in the Premier League next season, with Manchester City announcing an agreement with Borussia Dortmund for the summer transfer of Haaland earlier this week. While the deal is still subject to personal terms, that is surely just a formality at this point and the 21-year-old superfreak will be pulling on the City shirt just like his father used to back in the day.

That’s certainly not great news for any team looking to dethrone Manchester City in the league, but in terms of raw impact, it’s probably not such a massive development. In fact, it may be the least impactful move Haaland, who was heavily linked with Chelsea last summer, could have made.

City were already the best; even assuming that Haaland, who idolizes notably anti-Pep and Pep-incompatible Zlatan Ibrahimović, is able to adapt to Pep Guardiola’s quite specific style, and reproduce his goalscoring numbers from the Bundesliga (unlike Timo Werner and Kai Havertz), he will only make them marginally better. (We all thought Romelu Lukaku would be a can’t-miss signing as well; turns out he can miss just as well as the rest.)

Granted, marginal improvements is the name of the game at the highest end where small margins can make a trophy of difference, but it’s not like City will have suddenly jumped up a level or three. They’ve had Sergio Agüero scoring freely for many years before already just the same. The gap is still there, and that gap still needs to be closed.

“It is a decision for the club to make a good sign for the future. He can come for many, many years hopefully and I am pretty sure he will adapt perfectly to our team. [He] is an incredible young talent, perfect age. I am pretty sure we are going to help him settle as best possible.”

-Pep Guardiola; source: Mirror

As far as opening shots go for the latest transfer war however, City have certainly fired one heard all around the footballing world. It’s on to the rest to respond, including Chelsea — once we’re actually able to that is, free of these sanctions and restrictions by the UK government — to try to close the gap we’ve been trying to close for the past five years.

And our priorities remain unchanged: defenders, wing-backs, midfielders need sorting first and foremost, be that through the market or internal development and promotion.

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