‘Pep Guardiola never wanted Erling Haaland at Manchester City’

Erling Haaland has been scoring for fun at an unprecedented rate. However, the impact he’s had on Manchester City has been a controversial topic for discussion, with Jamie Carragher’s point at the weekend showing great insight and balance.

His own personal goal scoring record is something that can’t be argued against, it is simply phenomenal, however, where does that leave City? Well they aren’t any better off in terms of team goals than this time last season, suggesting whilst Haaland gets all the goals, the players around him suffer.

That’s something easy to speculate around given the drop off in form. Given the scary heights set with Liverpool in recent years, the formidable nature of Pep Guardiola’s team is completely different, something that Didi Hamann has spoken about.

Did Pep Guardiola want Erling Haaland?

Well, according to the former German midfielder, he believes the Spanish tactician didn’t want to sign the goal scoring machine in the first place, speaking to talkSPORT, he claimed: “Haaland’s strength is the opposite of what City’s strength is. City were successful because they retained the ball, they had rhythm, they had 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 ten 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, played three or four passes and the ball was in the back of the net.

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“With City they pass the ball 30/40 times before breaking the team down and that’s not his game. I don’t think long-term he will improve City’s team and that’s their biggest problem.

“I never thought he was going to go to City because he’s a player Guardiola never wanted. 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.”

More and more ex-professionals are coming out saying similar things about the relationship between City and Haaland, so there is something there for sure. It seems bizarre to claim someone with such goal scoring prowess is making a team worse, but that is the current narrative.

Haaland’s style of play is something rarely seen in a Guardiola team, especially at City, so despite the records, he could be hampering the team in general, as both Carragher and Hamann have summed up eloquently of late.

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