Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Man City transfer news: Pep Guardiola has an unexpected Erling Haaland problem

Erling Haaland and Pep Guardiola.

Erling Haaland has arguably been the best striker in world football since his move to Manchester City, but the Norway international continues to be linked with a move away from Pep Guardiola’s side.

Kylian Mbappe’s impending free transfer to Real Madrid, along with Endrick’s move to the Santiago Bernabeu, would logistically end rumours of a Los Blancos switch, however Haaland’s long-term future may not be at Man City.

Guardiola has previously shrugged off suggestions that Haaland will push to leave the Etihad Stadium, although the Norwegian’s father, Alfe Inge, hinted at a Man City in 2022.

Following his son’s move to England, the former Man City midfielder admitted: “I think Erling wants to test out his capabilities in every league. Then he can stay in every league for three to four years maximum.

“He could have two-and-a-half years in Germany, two-and-a-half in England, and then in Spain, Italy, France, right?”

As a result, it’s certainly plausible that Haaland leaves Man City within the next few years.

If he does leave, Julian Alvarez has been tipped to become the starring man in Man City’s attack. However, the Argentine have arguably taken a step backwards this season.

Alvarez’s debut campaign at the Etihad Stadium saw him shine as Haaland’s back-up, while he also helped Argentina win the World Cup with four goals during the tournament.

Despite notching 13 goals and 10 assists in 33 games across the Premier League and Champions League, Alvarez’s overall performances have regressed this campaign.

That fact was extremely evident in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool.

Julian Alvarez vs Liverpool

Julian Alvarez, Man City
© IMAGO – Julian Alvarez, Man City

While Alvarez was played out of position as a left winger at Anfield, his impact was a huge net negative.

The Argentina international boasted a woeful pass accuracy of just 56% during the game, with multiple loose and careless balls ensuring Man City were unable to retain possession like usual.

Sometimes a low pass accuracy suggests a player is attempting plenty of difficult passes in a bid to maximise chance creation, but that wasn’t the case for Alvarez – he was just off the pace.

Conor Bradley completely dominated their battle and Alvarez was withdrawn in the 69th minute after one of his worst performances in a Man City shirt.

To highlight his struggles at Anfield, Alvarez was handed a very poor rating of just 5.5 by FootballCritic, which was the worst of any player who started the match.

He deputised well enough in Haaland’s absence through injury earlier this season, but Alvarez’s display versus Liverpool was such a concern. Many City fans have expressed their disappointment with his form this campaign and it appears as though he is no longer trusted to perform at the highest level.

Guardiola clearly still values Alvarez as a player, however if Haaland does leave, there are serious questions as to whether he is capable of being the Norwegian’s replacement.

Last season, those questions did not exist, thanks to his immense form, but Alvarez needs to prove his doubters wrong soon otherwise Man City may be forced to dip into the market for another number nine.

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