Erling Haaland, Julian Alvarez and how Pep Guardiola’s “new level”Man City Attack will work


Manchester City have signed Erling Halaland and brought forward Julian Alvarez’s arrival at the Etihad stadium as Pep Guardiola aims for a third Premier League title.

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Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman of Man City, on Erling Haaland

Manchester City fans, just like the bus drivers, have waited a while to see if there was a new striker. Only for two to arrive at once.

City may have signed Erling Haaland, the signing of summer. City beat all European top clubs to sign the world’s most prolific young goal scorer. City signed Julian Alvarez from Argentina, as a further sign to their commitment to staying ahead of the pack both at home in Europe and abroad.

Watching Alvarez’s breathtaking recent one-game six-goal haul for River Plate, one could legitimately wonder if Pep Guardiola needs Haaland at all, such is the clinical finishing and movement of the prodigiously-talented 22-year-old. Guardiola’s desire to include Alvarez in his squad, rather than allow the forward to go on loan, suggests that Guardiola plans to play with both Alvarez as well as Haaland.

Haaland is a physical colossus, a typical No.9 and will lead City’s attack. He will also look to benefit from Kevin De Bruyne’s peerless cross delivery. Alvarez, on the other hand, will likely occupy a larger role with the freedom to move and drop down to link up attacks. Haaland is a dominant player who likes to face towards the goal and shrug off his opponents with immense strength. Alvarez prefers to be on the ground and is known for his smart movement and intelligent runs behind defenses.

They will be able to raise City’s attacking threat to a whole new level. The pair will replace Guardiola’s previous two seasons of playing with numerous false nines like Raheem sterling, Raheem Foden, Raheem Sharif, and De Bruyne. Guardiola already dismissed the idea that Haaland would struggle to adapt to City’s style of play.

“I hear that he’s not going to adapt to the way we play,” said Guardiola, his voice heavy with sarcasm. “Our way of playing is so simple. He’s scored a lot of goals in his career. We’re going to help him through the games, to have more chances to score goals. Julian is also coming and we’re going to help him to adapt well. I think the players, when they are good, have good vibes and energy to stay positive, to understand and to help.”

After winning back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019, City failed to make the necessary signings in the subsequent transfer window to keep them ahead of closest rivals Liverpol and, when injuries hit, they were no match for Jurgen Klopp’s side, who ended their 30-year title wait.

Having won successive titles once again, City have learned from that mistake and have made their move early with Haaland and Alvarez, the latter signed in January, but allowed to see out the season with River Plate.

With two such high-profile arrivals in Haaland and Alvarez, there will inevitably be some big-name departures from City this summer, with Raheem Sterling – entering the final year of his contract – likely to leave. But in Haaland and Alvarez, City have two of the deadliest strikers in the world, who can keep them ahead of their rivals for years to come.