Manchester City should have no fears about Erling Haaland with the striker set to become a regular source of goals for the Cityzens, according to Roy Keane.
The Norwegian is regarded as one of the hottest properties in world football, after a prolific spell at Borussia Dortmund. He has scored an incredible 86 goals in 89 games for BVB, ensuring a keenly-contested race for his signature this summer.
However, it was City who prevailed, signing the striker in what appears to be a bargain £51m deal. And Haaland has quickly earned many admirers among City supporters by stoking the rivalry with Manchester United at the first opportunity.
Pep Guardiola’s side have largely operated without a recognized No 9 for a few seasons now. Gabriel Jesus was afforded chances towards the back end of last season. However, by and large, Guardiola has tended to play without a centre-forward. To that end, the likes of Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling have operated as a false 9 in their set-up.
And with City’s creative talents engineering several openings, Haaland is expected to score a plethora of goals for the Blues.
That said, the 22-year-old fluffed his lines in Saturday’s Community Shield clash with Liverpool, missing two gilt-edged chances.
Nonetheless, Keane is convinced that Haaland will provide a greater success for the Blues.
Speaking prior to the match, Keane reckons the Norwegian has the natural ability to succeed. Furthermore, he reckons his application of him and desire to become even better will see him flourish under Guardiola.
And Keane, speaking to ITVyou have outlined a minimum goals target for the Leeds-born striker.
Roy Keane makes Erling Haaland prediction
“Brilliant, brilliant player,” Keane said. “Good age, 22, he hasn’t peaked yet, he’s working with a brilliant team, brilliant manager, he’s got all the attributes, you can’t imagine him not scoring 20 goals, you just can’t.
“If he stays fit, he’s obviously got the right attitude what a signing, you used a word there… exciting, that’s exactly what this young kid is and I’m excited to watch him over the next few months.”
Haaland’s misses on Saturday drew widespread criticism from opposing fans.
However, Keane was quick to look to the positives and is adamant the goals will soon flow for Manchester City.
“I’d be encouraged from what I saw from Haaland today,” he said after the final whistle. “Okay he missed two chances but he’s getting chances and it’s nice to see with the big hype around him. It’ll humble him a little bit and it’s going to be hard work.
“There’s no doubt in my mind he’s going to score goals for fun, his movement, chances he had – he’ll be disappointed.”
That assessment was echoed by Ian Wright, who also likes what he sees in Haaland.
“You look at his record, we’ve been watching him in the Bundesliga and he’s scoring a goal a game almost.
“He looks so dynamic, 6ft5, pace, skill, he’s got everything.
“He’s come to one of the best clubs in the world who needed a striker of that caliber. We’re not saying City have been struggling to win the league, but with this guy in it and this caliber of player coming to the Premier League it’s exactly what you need.”
Haaland does have competition for City shirt
As such, Haaland will be doubly eager to prove any doubters wrong when the season proper gets underway next weekend.
He will likely retain his shirt as City open up with a trip to West Ham a week today. And the Hammers’ defense will undoubtedly have to be on their guard against a player likely to be hurt from the criticism he received following the Community Shield.
Given the way City play and the chances they create, it is hard to see anything but (a fit) Haaland challenging for the Premier League golden booy.
That said, he already looks like he has a bit of friendly competition for his shirt. Signing to much less fanfare, City have also welcomed Julian Alvarez to the club this summer.
And he showed what he was about by getting on the scoresheet during Saturday’s match at the King Power Stadium.
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Playing with less pressure might just suit the Argentina international. And with the competition for shirts at Man City bound to be tough, Erling Haaland will know he cannot afford to let his standards drop.
Meanwhile, City’s efforts to prize Marc Cucurella from Brighton appear to have fallen on dear ears, with the Seagulls taking a hardline approach.