Well, it didn’t take the British media long, did it? Erling Haaland has firmly made his mark on the Premier League, banging in 19 goals in his first 11 matches, including three hat-tricks already.
Not bad for the player who we were told would need time to adjust. Apparently, after his abject performance against Liverpool in the Community Shield, Haaland just wasn’t prepared for the Premier League. He’d need time. You could almost hear the rubbing together of grubby journalistic hands as the blues left the King Power Stadium after defeat at the hands of last season’s runners-up.
‘Haaland looks lost’ said the Guardian. “This might take a while. Just talk among yourselves. For Erling Haaland this was a debut not just to forget, but to shred, incinerate and bury at the bottom of the garden.” This was just one of a number of pieces written about City’s new striker, despite him not training the week before that match.
Since then, the Norwegian star has scored against all that have been put before him - Bournemouth aside - and has rattled in the goals while the striker who was supposed to be a much better signing, Darwin Nunez, has one goal and one red card to his name.
Haaland has taken all the plaudits for his performances so far, but it looks like the honeymoon period with the media, if there was one, may be coming to an end.
Those loveable rogues at the Daily Mail have kicked it all off with an article about how Haaland is earning £865,000 per week, which will no doubt set off a chain reaction amongst supporters of other clubs and attempts to cause a rift between the top earners at the club and Haaland.
“It is understood that the 22-year-old gets a basic salary which is in line with the other higher earners at the Etihad Stadium. However, a series of substantial, almost-guaranteed bonuses see his weekly wage surge beyond the £850,000 mark.”
“It also goes some way to explaining why officials at the Etihad were happy to sanction a mammoth salary for a man who is widely viewed as a game changer. Thanks to a series of relatively straightforward bonuses, he is expected to pick up at least £45m (£865,000 a week) for a year’s work.” No actual evidence then? I’m pretty certain the ‘journalist’ hasn’t seen a copy of Haaland’s contract and I very much doubt the Norwegian will have shared his pay slip with him.
“How that sum, which is apparently the talk of the agency world, goes down with other players remains to be seen.”
And there, in the last line of text, lies the words that attempt to sow discord amongst Haaland’s teammates. Insinuating that other stars in the City dressing room will be unhappy with Haaland’s wages, whether true or not, is a blatant and quite frankly disgusting attempt to disrupt the balance at the Etihad Stadium.
The blues are on fire at the moment. They’re not just keeping pace with Arsenal at the top of the Premier League, they are breathing down the neck of the Gunners. City are so close that they can whisper into the ears of the Arsenal lads, constantly reminding them that one slip and we’re past you.
And that, I’m afraid, is what frightens the British journos. They are so immersed in their own agenda that they can no longer write pieces without balance or bias. So the thought of having to write something positive about City, even going as far as praising them, must turn their stomachs.
Yes, they praised the blues in May for their incredible comeback against Aston Villa that won them the Premier League title. However, it was still possible to identify the moment where their joy at City potentially losing their title, turned to the utmost despair as the realisation smacked home that they’d have to write something positive for once.
They were almost falling over themselves last season when Liverpool came so close to a clean sweep, only to finish the season with just both domestic trophies. One journo claimed Liverpool’s quad attempt was good for football, just twelve months after claiming City’s run was bad for it, so the bias is clearer than ever.
Sadly, the door of negativity has now been thrust open by this piece and it’s now just a case of waiting for similar articles to start seeping through. If Haaland, for example, was to continue his goalscoring exploits, there’s likely to be a piece on how bad it is for the game. Or how City rely solely on the Norwegian, completely forgetting that we won the league last season without him.
It’s a sad state of affairs when articles like this are produced, even worse when there’s no physical evidence to back up these claims. It seems that the media are still obsessing with the blues and are still looking for new sticks with which to beat the club.
The best thing City can do, and you can bet they will, is to let their football do the talking on the pitch.
And that means dispatching articles like that to the gutter where they belong.