The future of Erling Haaland at Manchester City is under serious scrutiny after a former Blues midfielder added weight to suggestions that all is not well between the striker and manager Pep Guardiola.
The Norwegian ace moved to the Etihad over the summer in what looks a bargain £51.2m fee. However, various add-ons, agent’s fees and the players wages, means the total cost of Haaland’s stay at Manchester City over the course of five years will likely top £200m.
Still, the 22-year-old Leeds born star has hit the ground running for City. He has scored an eye-watering 31 goals in just 28 games and is currently the outstanding favourite to be named Footballer of the Year.
Despite his personal success, there are some who feel his style of play doesn’t altogether suit Manchester City. And with the Blues trailing Arsenal by five points, they will need to draw on past experiences if they are to retain their crown.
Having won the Premier League title four times in the last five seasons, anything less than first will come as a disappointment to Guardiola.
And any close observers of their style will admit the club does have to change its playing style to accommodate Haaland. And when they get it right, City and Haaland are an exciting prospect.
But when teams manage to nullify their threat – as Tottenham did on Sunday – it does not make for brilliant viewing.
Now reports on Sunday claimed Haaland’s relationship with Guardiola is starting to crack. And amid reports that a ‘divorce’ could be on the cards, former City star Dietmar Hamann has now firmly waded into the row.
Guardiola ‘never wanted to sign Erling Haaland’
Speaking to talkSPORT, the former Germany international believes Haaland’s strengths are the polar opposite of the style usually employed by Guardiola.
And citing his treatment in the past of Robert Lewandowski and Gabriel Jesus, Hamann reckons Guardiola never would have wanted Haaland in the first place.
“Haaland’s strength is the opposite of what City’s strength is,” Hamann said.
“City were successful because they retained the ball, they had rhythm. They have that fluidity in their game and they shared goals.
“Now you’ve got a player who a lot of the time in their matches hardly takes part, it’s almost like playing with 10 men. I don’t care how many goals he scores or how many hat-tricks he scores. You need to see how many goals the team scores. I think they’ve scored less goals at the same stage of last season and have got less points.
“I don’t think that Haaland is a player that fits into the team because he’s everything the team isn’t.
“He’s good when you play quickly. At Dortmund he scored his goals after they turned over the ball. They would play three or four passes and the ball was in the back of the net. With City they pass the ball 30/40 times before breaking the team down. That’s just not his game.
“I don’t think long-term he will improve City’s team and that’s their biggest problem.”
Hamann adds fuel to fire that Haaland isn’t right for City
Jamie Carragher recently claimed Haaland ‘picked the wrong club’ and also feels he’s not a good match for City.
And Hamann has gone on step further, claiming he is far better suited to Chelsea or Manchester United.
“I never thought he was going to go to City because he’s a player Guardiola never wanted,” Hamann continued.
“Every centre forward was sent away from Barcelona. At times he played Robert Lewandowski on the left at Bayern Munich. Gabriel Jesus played out wide most of the time.
“Maybe they thought ‘there’s a player who we get for £50-60million and he’s twice or treble that, we have to buy him’.
“Would he be a benefit for Chelsea or Manchester United? Yes, I think so. Would he have scored the same goals for them? I don’t know, probably not because at City he gets more chances than for these teams. But I don’t think he’s a good fit for Manchester City.”
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