Football NewsWhy Haaland “Man City”
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The purchase of Erling Haaland is a continuation of Manchester City’s habit of closing problem positions with a large lag. We bend our fingers and take into account only the era under Pepe.  The flanks of the defense were strengthened, surviving Guardiola’s first season with aging legends in these roles (Sabaleta on the right, Kolarov on the left). The same with the goalkeeper position – a modern keeper was bought after suffering a year with Claudio Bravo. The support team was strengthened, having played three seasons at once with the aging Fernandinho – before that, they had unsuccessfully applied for Fred and Jorginho. In attack, they tried to buy a player to replace Aguero last summer, as a result, they have been playing for two seasons without the classic nine. The difference between the transfer of Haaland and the purchases of Ederson, Walker, Mendy and Rodri is that the acquisition of the Norwegian was not such a necessity – he cannot be called the last piece of the puzzle. City have scored 94 goals this season, and play 90% of their matches in positional attack mode – buying a striker who needs to be taught new tricks is hardly an obvious choice.  Perhaps Harry Kane would have been a more logical transfer, but since City made a choice in favor of Haaland, it is necessary to recall how both sides approached this step, and also to indicate the benchmarks by which it would be possible to evaluate the success of the transaction. 

Guardiola constantly said that the club needed a striker. But this season has shown that City can manage without a striker.

In fact, City do without the classic nine for the second season. But this is where the team lost all options. Sergio Aguero left the club last summer – the traumatic Argentine was promised a statue near the Etihad, but was not offered a new contract. By the start of the season, Aguero’s heir, Gaby Jesus, also flew from the nine position. The Brazilian asked Pep to move him to the flank, where he doesn’t have to worry about poor conversion. As the season progressed, we listed the options that Pep used for the role of a false nine. If you do not take into account the episodic appearances in front of Torres and Jesus, there were six options in total. The main finishers were Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden. As a rule, the choice depends on the appearance of Jack Grealish in the base. If he plays, Foden starts in attack. If Pep leaves him in reserve, Bernardo starts. After talks on Kane broke down, Guardiola gave the team a simple goal for the season: goals should be distributed among all players. By the end of the campaign, it can be recognized that the task is completed. Firstly, the team is close to the performance of the best seasons – 12 goals are missing from the record of the 2017/18 season, but there are still two matches to play. Secondly, several players at once either broke a personal performance record (KDB, Rodri, Laporte), or were on the verge of it (Bernardo, Foden). If we redistribute goals by 90 minutes, then Riyad Mahrez also holds the fastest season (1.1 goals per game on average).