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How would Erling Haaland impact the Manchester City Starting XI?

If Manchester City were to acquire the Norwegian Phenom, how would he play into Pep Guardiola’s Starting XI?

Sevilla FC v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg Two Photo by Alexandre Simoes/Borussia Dortmund via Getty Images

If there has been one considerable fault or shortcoming for Manchester City so far this season, it would most likely be their inability to acquire a striker to fill the shoes left by Sergio Aguero after he departed for Barcelona.

City boss Pep Guardiola was transparent about their inability to bring in someone new during the beginning of the season.

Following the departure of Ferran Torres, the pressure to acquire another forward player has only gotten higher. So, if the Blues want to right one of their only wrongs so far this season, now is the time to do it as the winter transfer window opened on Jan. 1.

One option that City has been rumored to be interested in is Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, who according to the Spanish sports news company Marca, was told by Borussia Dortmund to make a decision on where he wants to be by the start of the 22/23 season.

In the press conference, before the first leg of the last year’s Champions League quarter-final between Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund, Guardiola stated that he thinks Haaland is “exceptional”.

So far this season, Haaland is having himself another great year, currently scoring the third-most goals in the Bundesliga, only behind Bayer Leverkusen’s Patrik Schick, and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.

This is despite battling injuries to his muscles and hip flexor which has kept him out of a combined 10 games across all competitions.

According to Marca, regardless of what he tells Borussia Dortmund, Haaland will be donning black and yellow until the end of the season.

If Haaland’s move to the Etihad isn’t to take place until the summer, that may work out best for both parties.

Looking at City’s current forward situation, it’s littered with contracts that are currently set to expire at the end of next season, these contracts include the likes of Raheem Sterling, who has been linked to a possible transfer to Real Madrid, Riyad Mahrez, and Gabriel Jesus.

Depending on how City goes about the numerous expiring contracts, it may allow them to fix some of the issues currently facing the club. For instance, if Sterling is transferred out and Haaland is brought in, it would allow for the potential front three of Jesus, Haaland, and Mahrez, with the option of starting Jack Grealish in one of the winger positions.

However, the discussion about the contract situation facing the front three at City is a discussion for another day.

Borussia Dortmund v SpVgg Greuther Fürth - Bundesliga Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Haaland’s arrival would mean one of two things, Haaland would have to get used to playing in Guardiola’s preferred 4-3-3, or Guardiola would have to change to something similar to Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Rose’s 4-2-3-1, which allows for Haaland to be in the prime position to break through the opposition.

If it swings to be towards the first option, playing in the front three wouldn’t be something new to Haaland as Norway manager Ståle Solbakken utilized it seven times during the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers.

Manchester City isn’t the only club that is interested in the young superstar as Manchester United, Chelsea, and Real Madrid have all been rumored to be interested, so City will have to shell out an offer that Borussia Dortmund can’t refuse.

This is where the €55 million, plus €10m in add-ons that City received for Torres could come into play, and the potential to offload Sterling for additional funds isn’t out of the question.

Above all, Haaland would be the “weapon” that City currently lacks, patching up one of the big holes facing the club following Aguero’s departure; a true striker.

Even though Borussia Dortmund doesn’t plan to part ways with Haaland until the end of the season, if there is a move to be made, it will have to happen before the Bundesliga’s transfer window closes at 17:00 GMT/ 12:00 PM EST on Jan. 31.