Erling Braut Haaland recently captured the attention of the football world as a result of his performances for RB Salzburg. The 19-year-old made a statement when he scored nine goals in a single match against Honduras in the FIFA U-20 World Cup last summer. He subsequently won the golden boot in the competition. It was now a question of how he will fare beyond the tournament. A roll call of players who have fallen by the wayside despite shining at the youth level is a long one.
But the young Norwegian has made the necessary progress to the next level. His recent numbers with RB Salzburg have caused many to sit up and pay attention. He introduced himself to Europe’s elite competition with a hat-trick against Belgian side Genk. But that was just a continuation of the good work he has been doing on the domestic scene. 17 goals in just 12 outings for the Austrian side in the domestic top flight and the Champions League is the stuff of special talents.
These are numbers usually associated with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and more recently Kylian Mbappe. But he has already beaten the trio to the record of being the fastest player ever to score six goals in the Champions League. That further highlights the fact that he is a special talent.
Naturally, speculations concerning his future are now rife. The young forward has been linked with a move to some of the top teams in Europe, especially those in the Premier League. All of Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool are said to be interested in his services.
Manchester City has also been touted as a possible destination given the fact that he is the son of a former City midfielder, Alf-Inge Haaland. To spice up the story, pictures of a much younger Erling wearing a Manchester City shirt have recently emerged online.
But should the club be interested in the player?
A club looking to achieve remarkable success in future needs to get some of the best emerging talents available. Erling’s connection with the Citizens through his father also makes playing for City an interesting proposition. But there are several other factors to consider.
Firstly, is the Leeds-born teenager interested in following his father’s footsteps? And even if he is, will he excel at the Etihad Stadium? Shining for RB Salzburg is one thing but succeeding at a bigger club like City is a different matter. Is he also the kind of player for the club? Will City’s style of play suit him? So many questions to ask.
Secondly, does the club actually need a striker? If so, is the club ready to break the bank to acquire him? All of these issues can make or break the deal.
With Sergio Aguero set to leave the club in the near future, the time to start shopping for his long-term replacement is now. Gabriel Jesus will still need a partner to share the goalscoring burden with him when the legendary Argentine leaves the club. Erling fits the bill, if only because of his output. Yet, there are several other reasons he can find the Etihad Stadium a suitable destination.
He will continue a family tradition. City will provide lots of opportunities for him to realise his full potential and enjoy a trophy-laden career. In other words, it’ll be a win-win situation.
So, yes, City should be interested