Erling Haaland's arrival at Manchester City has Pep Guardiola bursting with excitement

Norwegian striker's signing is thrilling for the club and the Premier League as a whole

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Manchester City will have a new face but an old name in their ranks from July 1.

Erling Haaland, touted as Europe's next genuine global superstar, will be part of Pep Guardiola's team for the next five seasons.

The strapping, 21-year-old Norwegian follows in the boot prints of his dad Alf-Inge whose stay at Maine Road encompassed three seasons and saw him captain the Blues under manager Joe Royle.

One wonders if Erling will show some sentimentality and ask City for dad's old No 15 shirt. It's currently unassigned.

Back in 2000, it was my job as the City correspondent for Manchester’s evening newspaper to chronicle Alfie's thoughts and life in the north-west of England through a weekly ‘Captain’s Column’.

Erling was born during this time and if he's inherited his dad's personality and drive, then City fans can expect a well rounded and focused 21-year-old.

Blunt, forthright, committed and not a sufferer of fools – including this one – Alfie was a leader who also knew how to have fun.

He was a likeable and popular dedicated professional who even said sorry for one of City's more pitiful performances – a 4-0 drubbing at Charlton Athletic – by paying for fans' petrol on the way home.

Erling, who will be earning a reported £375,000 per week, will – even with today's massively inflated prices at the UK pumps – be one of the few folk able to repeat his dad's largesse if it ever becomes necessary.

City are not just buying a world class striker with room to improve but someone they know will instantly fit into their dressing room and who has a first hand grasp of where the club has come from in the last two decades.

At a fee of £51 million ($63.15m) and even with the big wage bill attached, Haaland is wonderful business for director of football Txiki Begiristain and the City board.

Erling Braut Haaland (Borussia Dortmund); Alf-Inge Haaland (Leeds, Manchester City, Norway)

Add Argentinian international striker Julian Alvarez, signed from River Plate, into the mix and for a combined transfer fee of around £70 million the English champions have revolutionised their forward line for years to come for less than neighbours United paid Leicester for England central defender Harry Maguire and around the same as Arsenal forked out for Nicolas Pepe.

More than that though they have cleverly begun the timely reshaping of Pep Guardiola's squad which will no doubt re-energise their mercurial coach.

The chances of Guardiola extending his stay at the Etihad Stadium beyond the end of his current deal in 2023, grew considerably in the last 48 hours.

The manager will also have home-grown talents Cole Palmer and Liam Delap to throw into the goal scoring mix – their stable of four forwards will be aged 22, 22, 20 and 19 when the new season kicks off. All of them are prolific and open to big improvement.

Haaland's arrival is expected to be the harbinger of a good deal more movement in and out in the months ahead as City seek a new left back, a defensive midfielder and possibly another attacking midfielder to form the third – and more youthful – squad iteration of Guardiola's spell as boss.

While Haaland's pending arrival will harm the bottom line, it will almost certainly improve City’s goals to chances ratio.

River Plate attacker Julian Alvarez will be joining Erling Haaland at Manchester City next season. Getty

Despite being prolific in terms of finding the net, Guardiola and City's fan base have been crying out for a natural finisher and some additional nous and power inside the penalty box.

Raheem Sterling, Rihad Mahrez – should they both stay – and the central midfielders will all relish having someone of Haaland's physical presence to aim at and to act, on occasion, as a decoy. Defenders, meanwhile, will have their hands full.

Haaland will undoubtedly have to adapt and tweak his game to fit into Guardiola's schemes and also meet his manager's demands but the Catalan manager rarely fails to improve the talent at his disposal. Who knows what the young striker will be worth at the end of his contract.

City will be better and more balanced with Haaland in their ranks. Should they wish, they will be able to hurt teams in different ways and from new angles.

The arrival of Erling Haaland at City has increased the chances of manager Pep Guardiola staying on longer than his current deal that ends in 2023. EPA

His capture is a statement that standing still in football means going backwards. It's also a triumph for perseverance and negotiating patience. Unperturbed by missing out on some big recent targets – including Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo – City have struck gold when it mattered most with the Norwegian hitman.

Despite telling reporters that he couldn't talk about the transfer because of legal niceties, Guardiola is clearly bursting with excitement at the prospect of coaching the young tyro who will perfectly complement the current star names at his disposal.

Judging by the social media posts from the current squad after the announcement, they too are thrilled to welcome Haaland junior.

As should be the Premier League and English football in general. It's beneficial to everyone in the EPL to welcome the best talent and Haaland could become an all-time great … an 'I saw him play live' performer.

Chronicling Haaland junior could even be more fun than writing about Haaland senior.

Updated: May 11, 2022, 4:17 PM
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