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


Manchester City have signed Erling Haaland and brought forward Julian Alvarez’s arrival to the Etihad Stadium as Pep Guardiola eyes up a third Premier League title in a row

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Man City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak on Erling Haaland

Like the proverbial buses, Manchester City fans have waited a while for a new striker, only for two to come along at once.

Erling Haaland may be the signing of the summer, with City beating the rest of Europe’s top clubs to land arguably the world most prolific young goalscorer. But if the capture of goal machine Haaland was not enough, City have emphasized their desire to stay ahead of the pack at home and abroad by also signing Argentine wonderkid Julian Alvarez.

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 have Alvarez in his squad for next season, rather than allowing the forward to go out on loan, suggests he plans to play with both him and Haaland.

Haaland, a physical colossus and a typical No.9, will lead City’s attack and look to profit from the peerless crossing delivery of Kevin De Bruyne, while Alvarez is likely to occupy a wider role, albeit with the freedom to roam and drop deep to link up attacks. While Haaland likes to dominate facing towards goal, shrugging off opponents with his immense strength and capitalizing with his devastating finishing, Alvarez loves the ball played to feet and is also noted for his clever movement and intelligent runs behind defenders.

Between them, the pair are certain to elevate City’s attacking threat to a new level, ending two seasons where Guardiola’s side played with multiple false nines, including De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva. Guardiola has already dismissed the notion Haaland will find it hard to adapt to the way City play.

“I hear 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. ”

Julian Alvarez recently scored six goals in a game for River Plate


Marcelo Endelli / Getty Images)

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 Liverpool 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.

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