Tag Archives: Erling Haaland

Golden Boy award winners – Ranked

It was announced earlier this week that Barcelona youngster Pedri was the winner of the 19th edition of the coveted ‘Golden Boy’ award.

The award is handed to the best Under-21 player in Europe’s top leagues based on a vote by sports journalists, based on the performances during the calendar year.

Looking through the list of previous winners, there have been some hits and misses as to how their careers ended up. But who is the best? Who is the worst? I’ve ranked them all, starting with the worst.



Alexandre Pato

The Brazilian was one of the most exciting prospects to come out of Brazil when he joined AC Milan but after an impressive couple of years, injuries took their toll and Pato never made the impact he was meant to. It might strike you to realise he is only 32 these days, but plays in the MLS with Orlando.

Anderson

If you look at Anderson’s CV, there’s an argument that he shouldn’t be this low down. But when you consider that injuries absolutely battered him throughout his career and most of those accolades came due to being part of an amazing squad, he has to be near the bottom.

All Golden Boy winners from 2003 and where they are now, including,  Balotelli, Renato Sanches and Haaland – The Sun

Mario Balotelli

The Italian broke onto the scene with Inter Milan, but a career that has been clouded in controversy didn’t go without it’s moments. The ‘Why Always Me?’, the fireworks, the fights with the manager are balanced out with the assist for *that* Aguero goal and his Euro 2012 performances get him off the bottom.

Anthony Martial

The Manchester United man is only 25-years-old as of this writing, but he’s really failed to kick on since winning this award in 2015. He’s lost that X-factor he had when he first moved to Old Trafford and while he’s got time to turn it around still, at his current trajectory he’d be considered a disappointment.

Rafael Van der Vaart

The inaugral winner of the award was a star for Ajax before earning himself a move to Real Madrid via Hamburg. But under the brightest of lights he struggled to really make an impact and the rest of his career was spent as being the best player in relatively mediocre sides.

CM: Sanches on the move; Jorge Mendes' plan with AC Milan

Renato Sanches

The star of a young Benfica side who helped Portugal to their first ever international trophy at Euro 2016, Sanches looked destined for greatness. A poor move to Bayern Munich and injuries have stalled his development and while he finally looks to be getting back to a high level, it’s too early to have him above some of these guys in the list.

Mario Gotze

There may not be a more iconic career moment from anyone on this list than Gotze scoring the winning goal in the World Cup final during extra-time in 2014. Since then though it’s been downhill, with injuries and a loss of form seeing him become a shadow of his former self. He’s only 29 now, but he plays for PSV in the Eredivisie.

Pedri

2021’s winner gets into this list at this height simply because it’s far too early to put him any higher or lower. His career has been strictly high points thus far, becoming a key member of the Barcelona team and putting in amazing performances during Euro 2020 to help Spain to the semi-finals. If he continues at this level, he will be one of the best in the world without a doubt.

Matthijs De Ligt

The only defender to win the award, De Ligt is still considered one of the best young defenders in the world. After helping Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals as their teenage captain, he earned a move to Juventus where he’s failed to rip up any trees but has maintained a steady level of performances. There’s definitely more to come from the Dutchman.

João Félix has already received the Golden Boy Award! - SL Benfica

Joao Felix

Felix blew up with his performances for Benfica in the Europa League and earned a nine-figure move to Atletico Madrid. Since moving though, injuries and a style of play that doesn’t really suit him have seen him stagnate. We’ve seen some top level performances in that time though, so we know the talent is still there.

Isco

The Spanish playmaker was a superstar in the making and was a key member of the Spain and Real Madrid side for years, with his brilliant guile and technical ability on show regularly. He’s won it all but the last few years have seen him barely touch the pitch and that will affect his legacy somewhat. A top player though, without doubt.

Erling Haaland

2020’s winner is currently regarded as one of the best strikers in the world despite being just the tender age of 21. His phenomenal goalscoring record has got everyone’s attention and the ease with which he’s taken to top level football is a sight to behold. He has got a long and successful career ahead of him, without a doubt.

Two Liverpool players make shortlist for Golden Boy award - with one former  Reds youngster nominated - Liverpool Echo

Raheem Sterling

The Manchester City and England winger won the award during his time at Anfield as a Liverpool player and hasn’t looked back since. He is the City player with the most goals under Pep Guardiola, has won everything at club level except the Champions League and even helped England to their best tournament finish since 1966 at Euro 2020. A superstar.

Paul Pogba

Despite his time in England since returning to Manchester United splitting opinions on him, Pogba’s talent is and always has been undeniable. He broke into a title winning Juventus team, is a leader at international level and scored in a World Cup final. His United stint may be up for debate, but his career is not.

Cesc Fabregas

Fabregas has had success everywhere he has been until he moved to Monaco, but the levels he reached during his prime have him down as one of the best midfielders of his generation. He won everything there is to win at club level and international level, while being a key player in every success and will be remembered greatly despite the winding down of his career at a relatively young age.

Pin on My Boy

Sergio Aguero

The man with the most iconic moment in Premier League history, Aguero’s legacy as a world class footballer is undeniable. He is the player with the most hat-tricks in Premier League history, the most goals in Man City history, the most goals by a foreign player in Premier League history and he’s top three goalscorers in Argentinian national team history. Unfortunately forced to retire early due to heart problems, but he will go down as a great.

Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe is only 22-years-old at the time of writing this, but his legacy is already solidified. He won the league with Monaco as a teenager against a dominant PSG side, then switched to Paris to become a cornerstone of their recent success. He’s won golden boots, trophies and even became the youngest player since Pele to score in a World Cup final. The scary thing is, he’s only getting better too.

Wayne Rooney

It’s crazy to think that some people believe Wayne Rooney never fulfilled his potential despite ending his career as the all-time top goalscorer for Manchester United and England. He won it all at club level, playing several positions and is the owner of several iconic moments. A world class footballer and one of the best his country has ever produced, he was a true golden boy.

GOAL on Twitter: "Lionel Messi winning the European Golden Boy trophy back  in 2005 🏆 https://t.co/Iumxd5UBpi" / Twitter

Lionel Messi

There was no other option for the number one ranking of this award, because the greatest player of all-time won it back in 2005. The only ‘Golden Boy’ to go on to win the Ballon d’Or, he has gone on to do everything except win a World Cup and his legacy will transcend generations. Without a doubt the greatest I’ve ever seen, it’s a no brainer that he sits at number one on this list.

Joao Felix needs to remind everyone that there is another ‘starboy’

If you ask most football fans across the world who the best young players in the world are, the answers are usually pretty unanimous.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland are often battling it out for the top spot in people’s minds, while some less popular choices including Manchester based duo Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood.

But it wasn’t that long ago that there was another name in the mix for fans to debate about for the podium in Joao Felix.

Felix had a stunning breakthrough season as a teenager with Benfica, before completing a sensational £113m transfer to Atletico Madrid in 2019 on the back of it.

He opted to join the Spanish side ahead of interested clubs such as Real Madrid, Manchester United and Man City according to reports with Diego Simeone seeing him as the ideal replacement for the Barcelona-bound Antoine Griezmann in that window.

On paper it made a lot of sense. Felix excels as one of the most creative attackers in La Liga, and has the goalscoring ability to fill in for a 20 goal per-season star like Griezmann in a team that tends to challenge on all fronts each season.

However at such a young age and with so much expectation due to the transfer fee, the deal hasn’t quite gone as planned for the now 21-year-old.

Felix is into his third season at the Wanda Metropolitano and he has scored just 19 goals so far for the club, which is less than he scored for Benfica in his one season with the first-team in Lisbon.

Injuries haven’t helped, while Felix’s love for attacking and flair football hasn’t really fitted in seamlessly to the way ‘El Cholo’ likes to set up his teams with defence also prioritised over goals. He’s had a somewhat fractious relationship with his manager and his bad form has seen him left out of the side on occasion too.

But through all that, it’s still very clear just how talented Felix is as a footballer. Against Barcelona on Sunday, Felix didn’t get a goal or assist officially but he was every bit as influential as Thomas Lemar and Luis Suarez who did.

His dribbling got him out of predicaments, his quick feet got him out of tight situations and his passing ability was on display for all to see as he carved open Ronald Koeman’s side at will. It was just a glimpse of his talent and ability but it served as a reminder to just how good he is.

With Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann both at Atletico now, the pressure is no longer on Felix to lead the line and be the primary goalscorer. Instead, he is in the side to develop and be part of a unit in attack that is looking to go back-to-back for the La Liga title and make another push in Europe.

Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid celebrates with Joao Felix of Atletico Madrid after scoring the goal of 1-1 during the Uefa Champions League...

Felix barely got on the pitch at Euro 2020 for Portugal as they suffered a disappointing Round of 16 exit to Belgium, but with the World Cup in Qatar coming up at the end of next year he has a chance to get right back to it.

Cristiano Ronaldo won’t be around forever and Bernardo Silva may be the man now but he is also creeping up on 30. Felix is the future of the Portuguese national team undoubtedly, but he could also be the future for Atletico Madrid or another top European team.

He needs to get back to his confident best to show it and he’s now in an environment where he doesn’t have added pressure. If the style of play at Atletico continues to negatively effect him then he may need to consider moving on, but it’s so easy to forget he won’t be 22 until November.

He’s got the best part of a decade ahead of him and I wouldn’t bet against him having another breakthrough season ahead of the 2022 World Cup to remind everyone that there is another name missing from that starboy conversation. Don’t sleep on Joao Felix.

Manchester United need Jadon Sancho more than a striker this summer

The transfer saga that ran for the entirety of the summer of 2020 is back with a vengeance this year, as rumours around the future of Jadon Sancho begin to whirl once again.

The England international was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford last year, with the club reluctant to pay his £100m asking price and Dortmund refusing to budge on their price. In the end the winger stayed in the Bundesliga and after a slow start to the season has found form once again.

Manchester United have coped without him this year, with their domestic season going better than any in recent memory and now with one foot in the Europa League final too after a poor start to their campaign also.

But after a pretty good season for the Red Devils under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Borussia Dortmund potentially missing out on Champions League football, interest in the 20-year-old has been reignited.

According to reports in Germany, Dortmund have an agreement in place with Sancho that he will be allowed to leave for a fee lower than the one demanded last summer – reportedly between €85-90million.

It’s a fee that seems much more likely to see a deal struck between the two clubs and is a position that should be looked at seriously to fill this summer.

With news that Edinson Cavani will be staying at Old Trafford for a second season after considering an offer from Boca Juniors, a striker is no longer an outright priority for the club in the summer window.

Obviously if a top class striker such as Erling Haaland or Harry Kane becomes attainable then United should move to secure a deal, but the likelihood is that they will prove too expensive this summer.

If it become a matter of one or the other, then it’s Sancho who should be put at the top of the list.

United have been crying out for a right winger for several years now. Adnan Januzaj never quite made the grade under Louis van Gaal after a phenomenal breakout year, while Angel Di Maria quit after one season because of off-field issues and the fact he never really wanted to join to begin with.

Mason Greenwood and Daniel James currently occupy the position the most, but neither should be there regularly. James simply isn’t good enough to be part of the Manchester United squad while Greenwood’s long term future should be as a number nine.

It’s because of Greenwood’s development that Sancho should be the number one target too. Not only is Sancho a world class winger that brings balance to the side in a position that’s hugely needed, he would be a long-term option as well as the fact he’s the cheapest of the three reported main attacking targets.

Whether you think a defensive midfielder or a centre back should be the absolute guaranteed priority before anything else this summer, when it comes to the attacking third of the pitch Sancho should be the number one target.

Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund – Champions League quarter-final predictions

The UEFA Champions League is back with some absolutely mouth watering ties as we enter the quarter-final stage of the competition.

Two of the most exciting, attacking teams left in the competition will meet as Manchester City take on the Bundesliga’s Borussia Dortmund in the last eight knowing that they have a tough route to the final even if they’re able to progress through this round.

Pep Guardiola’s side were able to come through a reasonably comfortable encounter with Borussia Moenchengladbach, winning both home and away to come away with a routine 4-0 aggregate victory. Dortmund on the other hand were involved in one of the more entertaining fixtures of the last round, winning 3-2 at the Ramon Sanchez Pijuan before fumbling a 2-0 lead in their home leg to draw 2-2 on the night and progress 5-4 on aggregate.

In the Premier League, City look set to win their third league title in just four seasons after defeating Leicester City this past weekend. They now need just 11 points in the remaining eight games of the season to mathematically seal the title as they chase an unprecedented quadruple this season.

Dortmund on the other hand are struggling domestically, currently sitting seven points off the Champions League places after yet another defeat this past weekend to Eintracht Frankfurt.

It’s unlikely to get any easier for them now too, with Jadon Sancho likely to miss the first leg through injury and an away leg at the Etihad Stadium to come before their home tie. City have shown a fantastic defensive ability this season to shut their opponents out of games, keeping 28 clean sheets in all competitions this season including Ederson with 17 in the Premier League – no goalkeeper has kept more than the Brazilian.

Add to that that Guardiola’s side is also the highest scoring side in the Premier League, it’s a recipe for disaster for the German side. Edin Terzic is the man in charge following the dismissal of Lucien Favre earlier this year but he has been unable to really steady the ship. They have maintained their attacking impetus though, with Erling Haaland in particular shining as the top scorer in this season’s Champions League competition and behind only Andre Silva and Robert Lewandowski in the race for the Bundesliga golden boot.

City’s style of play has changed in a big way this season, with them not focusing so much on battering teams and more on control. They’re still possession heavy, as any Guardiola team is, but without a central number nine as their primary goalscorer they’ve seen more rotation and interchanging of positions and been able to share the load more.

Dortmund’s style is also similar to their traditions, with transitions a huge part of their attacking style. City are the masters of stopping the transitions in their tracks with the way they keep the ball and set up to stop counter attacks, and without being able to transition BVB will be in big trouble.

Defensively, Dortmund have struggled to keep teams quiet this season conceding 39 goals in the Bundesliga – more than anyone else in the top half of their league. Against City they’re going to be under the collar throughout, and stylistically there couldn’t be a worse team for them to come up against.

While you can never count Haaland out of being on the scoresheet or Dortmund from creating chances but I’m more than confident in my belief that City will put them to the sword and come away comfortable winners.


PREDICTIONS

Manchester City 3-1 Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund 0-2 Manchester City
(Manchester City to progress 5-1 on aggregate)

Who should Manchester City sign to replace Sergio Aguero?

When the greatest goalscorer in the history of the club is getting ready to leave, some planning needs to go into his replacement.

After Manchester City and Sergio Aguero confirmed reports that the player will leave at the end of his contract this summer, all talk swiftly turned to who would be the best replacement for Pep Guardiola’s side to sign.

Aguero is almost guaranteed to go abroad, with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain the most linked teams for his signature, but whether they’re the best option remains to be seen. For City, the options on who to sign are much less frequent and will be much more expensive. So who is the best option?

The obvious two names that come to everyone’s lips are Erling Haaland and Harry Kane.

Haaland is a 20-year-old Norwegian international who already has an affiliation with the blue half of Manchester, with his father Alf-Inge being the former captain of the club. Erling was born in Leeds but brought up as a Man City fan due to his father’s playing career and there is a well known photograph of a young Haaland in a City shirt.

Borussia Dortmund v Sport-Club Freiburg - Bundesliga : News Photo

His profile fits the striker role well too, with goals galore coming in all forms. Whether it be left foot, right foot, header, tap in, scrappy or emphatic, Haaland has the finish in his locker and at only 20 he is impressionable enough for Guardiola to be able to mould any weaknesses or flaws he may have.

He has seemingly got a ‘win at all costs’ mentality too which will go down well, while physically he seems to be strong and mobile enough to cope with the Premier League. One issue in pursuing Haaland would undoubtedly be his price, with Dortmund likely to ask for in excess of £150m to part with the player this summer. City will think twice, especially with the knowledge that he has a release clause that activates next summer for less than half that amount.

That could lead them to the current Spurs hitman Kane, who reportedly could seek to leave north London if they fail to make the Champions League next season.

Rumours of Kane’s future have been rife for years but he has stayed loyal to Tottenham, even signing a new six-year deal with the club in 2018 meaning he will still have three years to run on the deal at the end of the campaign.

The fee to bring him to another Premier League club will likely be as high as any potential fee for Haaland, but it may seem a little more worth it.

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-TOTTENHAM : News Photo

The England striker will be 28 by the time the new season begins and entering his prime. He is chasing several goal records, including being the most credible threat to Alan Shearer‘s all-time Premier League record and also Wayne Rooney’s England record.

But this season he has developed an entirely new side to his game, where the creative bones have come out as well as his clinical striker abilities. He currently leads the Premier League charts for assists and has shown a passing range that most midfielders would cry for.

This all round game would likely suit Guardiola’s possession-heavy approach more than just a pure poacher, but he is still more than capable of getting 20+ league goals a season and 30+ goals in all competitions.

The issue for Kane has always been fitness, with ankle and hamstring injuries plaguing him throughout his career and often causing him to miss large chunks of the campaign. While that isn’t too different from what Aguero has had to deal with during his City career, the huge price tag could put City off for that reason.

Who else is there? It now seems highly unlikely that Lionel Messi will be targeted in the summer, while Kylian Mbappe is more likely to stay put at PSG or move to Real Madrid than join Manchester City.

Atletico de Madrid v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander : News Photo

Romelu Lukaku has been linked as a target and despite his goalscoring exploits in Italy it would be incredibly hard to picture him in a Guardiola team. As good as he is, stylistically they are like chalk and cheese and there is no reason for Lukaku to look to move away from Serie A considering how well he is doing and the fact he is about to win the league with Antonio Conte.

Antoine Griezmann could become available if Barcelona opt to offload him and his style could see him fit in very well at Manchester City. He is more of a technical playmaker by trade who prefers to play in a slightly withdrawn role, but is more than capable of being the most advanced attacker. City could also look at his former club Atletico Madrid for a potential move for Joao Felix who is reportedly unhappy under Diego Simeone.

The Portuguese wonderkid may actually be the best fit possible for Guardiola. He is capable of playing across the front line, dropping deep to link play, has a fantastic eye for goal, can dribble, beat players one on one and also has a great eye for a pass. He is young and coachable and while he would certainly be expensive, he’d probably cost less than Kane or Haaland.

City will have to go big in the transfer market regardless of who they opt to sign to replace Aguero, unless they choose not to replace his status and just replace his place in the squad. After all, they are about to win the league with their number nine Gabriel Jesus having only scored seven league goals.

Manchester United: Play Mason Greenwood up front or sign a world class striker

As Manchester United fall away from the top of the Premier League and into a race for top four rather than the title, they’re being lamented for not having a top striker among their ranks.

Edinson Cavani has done relatively well since joining the club in the summer on a free transfer but recently turned 34 years old, while Anthony Martial’s performance levels have dropped considerably from the career-high he had last year as the central striker.

This has led to several links with attacking players, including the top young striker in the world in Erling Haaland once again as well as the likes of Danny Ings and Andre Silva.

United also recently secured the long-term future of Mason Greenwood, with the young forward signing a new deal to keep him at Old Trafford until 2025. While he’s predominantly played on the right wing since coming up to the first-team, he made his name as a striker.

He scored a bucket load of goals for the youth teams and even hit an unprecedented 17 goals in his debut first-team season last year, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer describing him as the best finisher at the club. Whether it’s his left foot or right foot, inside or outside the box, Greenwood knows how to find the back of the net.

So with a talent that good that is only 19-years-old already at the club, why waste money on a stop-gap signing?

As bad as Martial has been this season, he has showed previously that he is good enough to be a 20+ goal striker and links up well with the rest of the team. Cavani has been good for the most part and showed the poaching instincts that has seen him score over 200 times for Paris Saint-Germain during his time there.

Signing someone like Ings or Silva, without being disrespectful to them, doesn’t improve Manchester United. It gets them a new name on the team sheet and means they can probably move one of the other two options on if they wanted to, but they’re unlikely to see the level of their performances raise because of it.

Someone like a Haaland, or any other top level striker would make that difference. But if the Reds aren’t willing to make the investment just now, which would be fair enough considering the current state of the world, then why would they waste their time with another name.

Greenwood is there and ready to explode. We saw players like Harry Kane get to the level they’re currently at from playing week in and week out, so signing someone that isn’t world class already is only going to hinder the team and the best young talent to come out of the academy in years.

If the investment isn’t plausible this summer, use Greenwood as a striker. He will get better and his ceiling is already so much higher than the current options, that you have nothing to lose. If he struggles, your current options are still there to help carry the load as they’ve done this year – nobody has scored more league goals than Manchester United this season.

Solskjaer and United need to make a decision. They have two options; sign a world class striker or make Mason Greenwood the first choice number nine. Nothing else makes sense.

Champions League last 16 predictions – Sevilla vs Borussia Dortmund

The Champions League is back and the last 16 has thrown up some really exciting ties to determine who will make it into the quarter-finals.

In one of the more open ended ties pulled out of the hat, the 2020 Europa League winners Sevilla take on the free-flowing attacking German giants Borussia Dortmund.

Sevilla currently sit in fourth place in La Liga, nine points off the top of the table behind Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Julen Lopetegui’s side have established a fantastic style of football, playing fast-paced possession football where domestically they score twice as many goals as they concede.

Dortmund on the other hand have been a hot and cold side this season, which saw them dismiss former boss Lucien Favre back in December. Edin Terzic was placed in charge for the rest of the season and it was recently announced that they will permanently hire Marco Rose at the end of the season after he revealed he’d be activating the break clause in his Borussia Moenchengladbach contract.

Individually the Dortmund side have still got incredible talent, with the likes of Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho finding great form in recent months while Jude Bellingham has settled in well in midfield. There have been injuries throughout the season, especially defensively and their current form has seen them win just twice in their last six games.

It’s almost guaranteed to be a tie that will see both sides attacking and looking to implement their own style on each game to give themselves the best chance of winning.

The Sevilla side is probably better placed to do that, with a permanent coach in place who has worked his ideas onto the squad for the best part of two years now. Central defender Jules Kounde has found himself being linked to all the top sides in Europe following his brilliant performances, while the attacking players such as Youssef En-Nesyri and January signing Papau Gomez will be keen to impress on the big stage once again.

Dortmund can score goals, nothing has changed there, but defensively they are incredibly suspect. There is a huge lack of pace in their back line which Sevilla will be keen to expose but also just a genuine lack of quality and leadership in defensive situations.

This comes down to individual quality (Dortmund) against organisation and teamwork (Sevilla). Normally, I’d back the quality when the gap is so wide but it’s hard to judge when the gap isn’t.

Overall, I think we get a shock in this tie. It should be a high scoring tie, and I think both teams will be able to score goals and win their respective home tie but Sevilla’s superior defence should see them come out on top overall.

PREDICTION:

Sevilla 2-1 Dortmund
Dortmund 3-2 Sevilla
(4-4 on aggregate, Sevilla to progress on away goals)

Will Gabriel Jesus ever be good enough to lead the line for Manchester City?

With Sergio Aguero’s Manchester City career on pause right now, all eyes have been on Gabriel Jesus in a blue shirt.

The Brazilian forward has been tasked with leading the line in Aguero’s absence, with the club’s all-time top goalscorer leaving big shoes to fill while he’s been out with injury. The Argentine hasn’t scored a league goal for the club since January 2020 and has made just five appearances so far this season for a number of reasons.

Jesus has struggled to take his chance though, with manager Pep Guardiola often leaving him out entirely and opting for a makeshift system with no natural striker.

He started in Wednesday’s FA Cup win over Swansea, scoring his 76th goal in 174 games for the club in a 3-1 win to see them through to the quarter-finals once again.

While his record on paper looks relatively good for someone who’s been a back-up player for the majority of his tenure at the club, but when you break it down some more you start to realise that it’s probably not as good as it seems.

16 of those goals have come in domestic cup competitions, while 15 have come in the Champions League. Even of those 15 in the Champions League, only four have come outside of the group stages and none beyond the last 16.

He seems to be a bit of a flat-track bully when it comes to goalscoring, but that doesn’t make him a bad player. He’s got excellent movement, a great first touch, good hold up play, fantastic link play with his midfielders and is a good finisher when he gets into those positions.

But he doesn’t have that nose for goal that the elite strikers do. During his time at Palmeiras and even now for the Brazilian national team, Jesus gets fielded out wide with the license to drift in-field and link up with the other attacking players.

His long-term future at City shouldn’t be at risk because he’s more than good enough to be a part of the squad and perform well in certain games, but he can’t be relied upon to be the main source of goals for the team.

With the way Guardiola sets his teams up, they are sure to score goals throughout the campaign. But having that one man you can rely on in a tight game is key for all the top sides in the history of the game.

Jesus isn’t that guy and probably never will be, so don’t be shocked to see City go big on a striker this summer with Aguero almost certainly finished at the highest level in a sky blue shirt.

What is Erling Haaland’s best next move?

It’s only been a little over a year since Erling Haaland joined Borussia Dortmund, but all eyes are already on where his next move could potentially be.

The Norwegian striker took Europe by storm last year for Salzburg, before a €20m move to the Bundesliga in the January transfer window. Since moving to Signal Iduna Park Haaland has continued to score at a phenomenal rate, with 38 goals in 40 appearances so far.

Upon signing, reports claimed that a release clause was inserted into his contract for the summer of 2022 at around €65m but rumours are swirling that clubs could be willing to pay more than that this coming summer to get him early.

With those reports rife, where would his best move be? Lets assess his options..


CHELSEA

If reports are to be believed, Roman Abramovich has made the Norwegian his number one target for the summer and is willing to blow a considerable wad of cash on him.

After spending big on Timo Werner and Kai Havertz last summer, Thomas Tuchel was brought in to help them improve from their early season poor form. It seems as though Werner is viewed as a left winger or inside forward rather than an out and out number nine and that could open up a spot for Haaland to come straight into the team.

With Tuchel’s approach play, Haaland would be allowed to focus on what he’s good at which is getting on the end of chances. He wouldn’t need to be involved in the build-up too much, where his fundamentals can sometimes let him down.

Chelsea v Burnley - Premier League : News Photo

A poacher extraordinaire, Haaland’s potential future at Stamford Bridge really depends on how Werner is viewed long-term positionally by the coaching staff. If he did opt for a blue shirt though, it’s hard to see him not scoring a tonne of goals.
SUITABILITY – 7/10


MANCHESTER UNITED

The club he was strongly linked with before opting for Dortmund, Manchester United will no doubt be back in the hunt for Haaland should he become available again.

Having previously worked under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Molde, both parties will know each other well and United’s clear progression this season will be a positive sign for the young striker. The Reds are seriously lacking a potent number nine and while Edinson Cavani has done reasonably well this season, at 34 he isn’t a long-term option.

Haaland would be more needed in the build up with Solskjaer’s side than he’s used to but with the way they counter attack he would be more in his element and would fit into the way the team play reasonably well. A reunion could be on the cards between two of Norway’s greatest attacking exports ever.
SUITABILITY – 8/10


MANCHESTER CITY

If Haaland doesn’t fancy going to Old Trafford, he could end up across town in the blue side of Manchester just like his dad.

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Alf-Inge Haaland was famously captain of City during their days at Maine Road and was on the receiving end of a horror tackle from Roy Keane during a Manchester derby. Erling was born in Leeds and followed his dad to Manchester when he signed for City, and was reportedly a Man City fan growing up.

Pep Guardiola’s side are desperate for a new striker, with Sergio Aguero ageing and out of contract in the summer while Gabriel Jesus hasn’t shown the level required to take over the reigns on a full-time basis. City’s team score goals, so Haaland would certainly enjoy himself with the quality of player around him.
SUITABILITY – 9/10


JUVENTUS

Just… hear me out. Believe it or not, Cristiano Ronaldo cannot play on forever. The Portuguese forward still has a contract that runs until 2022, but what better way to plan for replacing the greatest goalscorer in football history than with the best young striker in the game?

With Paulo Dybala’s future also up in the air, Juventus could go big in the market to bolster their attacking options and their reputation in the market precedes them. They have a great habit of signing top young players at a good price and if he did sign, Juventus have never been the type of club to stand in a player’s way if they want to leave either.

Italian football has seen veteran strikers like Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic tear it up in the last year or so, so imagine what a young machine like Haaland would do? The fee and wages could be a hurdle for them and thus make a move unlikely but never say never with the Old Lady.
SUITABILITY – 6/10


BAYERN MUNICH

Obvious transfers are obvious, right? When Borussia Dortmund, or any German club for that matter, have a top talent on their books it’s Bayern Munich that have dibs on signing them.

Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Muenchen - Bundesliga : News Photo

The best team in Germany by a distance currently have Robert Lewandowski at the peak of his powers, but the Pole will be 33 by the time the new season starts. While he’s likely to be able to continue at the top level for another year or two at least, if the big boys start circling around Haaland then they could be forced to make the move early.

Haaland and Lewandowski are physically very similar and the 20-year-old has already proven that he can score goals for fun in the Bundesliga and in Europe. If would be a ready-made replacement for Lewandowski and with Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman around him in the Bayern side he would be Europe’s top marksman for the next decade if he wanted to be.
SUITABILITY – 10/10