Athletes by Conrad Hoyt May 18, 2022
Erling Haaland has played his last game for Borussia Dortmund, as he is set to join Manchester City this summer. The move is a massive one, quite possible even earth shattering, for City, for the Premier League, and for the world of English football as a whole.
Along with Kylian Mbappe, Haaland was on the shortlist of most-sought-after players this season. He is a tour de force of power, technique, and superb instincts, something all the best strikers seem to possess. And he chose Man City, the club his father used to play for, to help elevate him to an even greater level.
Haaland had many suitors as the summer approached. Real Madrid, perhaps the most prestigious club on the planet in terms of attracting stars, was one of the several teams rumored to be interested.
However, Haaland chose City, and England, to be his next step after Dortmund and Germany. One can surmise the reason for Haaland’s decision lies in the growth of City as a club, and how Haaland can see himself growing under manager Pep Guardiola.
Even Haaland’s teammate at Dortmund sees the vision.
“[I] told him I was really happy for him, that he was able to fulfil the next step of his journey and his dream as a footballer,” Dortmund star midfielder Jude Bellingham told the Times.
The signing of Erling Haaland not only elevates the spectacle of the extremely competitive Premier League, but it also solidifies Man City as a bonafide titan in the world marketplace of football.
What was the main concern heading into the 2021/22 season for City? What has been the main talking point nearly every time they have stumbled? The team’s lack of a true number 9.
Haaland is the heir apparent to Sergio Aguero and the enormous void he has left behind since leaving City. The Norwegian has a knack for putting the ball in the net. Twenty two goals in 24 matches in the Bundesliga this year tells the story.
The Premier League is a vastly different league, it cannot be denied. As NBC Sports pundit Robbie Mustoe said, defense is a bit tighter and stronger in the Premier League than it is in the Bundesliga.
Still, superstars overcome obstacles, and the best players perform even better when they’re surrounded by greater talent. Just look at another Bundesliga product City bid highly for in Kevin De Bruyne.
This attacking pair under the stewardship of Guardiola will be a force to be reckoned with, and the one perceived problem ailing City all season long, finishing, should soon not be a concern.
Man City and Liverpool have both steadily ascended, or at worst maintained pace of their respective apexes in recent years (if one wanted to argue Liverpool’s 2019/2020 and City’s Centurions sides were better).
While we have seen English teams such as Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United and José Mourinho’s Chelsea reach immense heights before, there is an inevitability with these two sides at the moment. A disappointing final half hour from City in the Champions League semifinal with Real Madrid aside, most of us would look at these sides as the two best in the world.
Furthermore, if Chelsea hadn’t dealt with extreme and unorthodox ownership turnover, they might be battling with City and Liverpool right now for the league title. In some competitions, like the Carabao Cup and FA Cup, they already were.
Chelsea will find a way to reshuffle, even with defensive questions looming large. Liverpool will continue to scale the tower of all-time great sides, and closely watch other transfer targets to try and match City’s shiny new toy. And City will do as they have always done under Guardiola: renovate, innovate, and dominate.
The world of English soccer is bright, perhaps brighter than ever before. The top of the Premier League is naturally the focus, but the competition at the bottom is just as intense.
Whether you are a fan of Manchester City or not should make no difference if you enjoy the presentation that the Premier League provides.
English soccer just got grander, and we are all better off for it.