9 | Erling Haaland - 2023/24

I think the fact that Pep confirmed Haaland asked to be taken off last night confirms Erling is probably not 100% and has been trying to play through it.

I think a lot of the criticism of him is very harsh (if not downright stupid, at times).
He's way off full fitness and has been since before Christmas.
May as well cash in the lot then because Palmer has more than everyone at City.
The media are desperate for an "I told you so" moment with Palmer. Personally, I wanted him to stay and I believe he would have probably impacted games more than Grealish (that's not saying Jack isn't good) but if you take away the penalties, then you can see his actual impact in his current team, decent numbers but I think the media are getting carried away with this one.
\Obviously, Haaland is having a worse season than the last. I think it's obvious he won't have a good end of the season. But for me that shouldn't be the conversation. The conversation should be, what do we do? Let me start saying that I think Haaland is the best striker with open field in the world. But that doesn't mean he is the best striker for us. Just like Courtois is a better GK than Ederson, but Ederson is better for us.

Our starting lineup has: Gvardiol who is wonderfully gifted in possession, but is not good at crossing the ball. Walker who is awful offensively. Rodri who is amazing on everything, but his offensive skills shine with deep passes to wingers/fullbacks in full speed, great dribbling with pass into the channels, or 1-2 with to get space to shoot. Bernardo who is great for the team, but not a creative passer at all. Grealish who is great at creating overloads that allows to change it quickly and get good shooting opportunities, and who is great at passing to a player free inside the box. Foden who is great at dribbling, has superb controls and great shooting, but it's not that creative with his passing (despite having a good pass). Only an aging KDB plays to the strengths of Haaland.

We have two options: we buy two new world-class winger, 2 world-class offensive FB and a world-class replacement for KDB. On top of that, we have to change the way we play completely. This would be stupid.

Or we just sell Haaland for 160-180 m and probably Bernardo (he is aging, this has been his worst season for us, still good, but not great) for 50m. That is 220m which is enough for 2 world class players and 1 good replacement for Rodri. I would try Alvarez for one season as our starting 9, because he clearly fits more our style. Buy Paqueta as Bernardo replacement, Frenkie De Jong/Barella/Kimmich as our new 8, a young DM (French league tends to have very good and physical ones). And also get an old 9 who is great at headers and presses a lot. Your Manzdukic, Mario Gomez, Klose, Llorente... who clearly accepts to be on the bench, but it is an option when the false 9 is not working. A Morata, Fullkrug, Immobile, Lewandowski (if he accepts to be on the bench), heck even Lukk de Jong.

I have nothing against Haaland, he is just not a good fit.
So what was our style of play last season when we won the treble and Haaland was top scorer in both Premier League/Champions League? Did he fit the style then? Just because we lost and he’s been poor in some games doesn’t mean we rip everything up and revert to something else. We’ve invested in Haaland and we’ll make it work.
Are people stupid talking about we need to be playing balls in behind, it’s so fuckin annoying

WE FACE LOW BLOCKS 99% of the time there is no opportunity for a ball in behind
Behind a defence we come up against is out of play for a goal kick
For most of the play there is 6/7/8 players between the player with the ball and Haaland and it’s not easy to get the ball to him
We have very good creative players but they face a set up no other team really does most games

He needs to be coming out the box bringing defenders with him, linking up, one twos and unlocking teams but he’s just not got that skill set, when we’re in possession going side to side he’s just waiting in the middle for it to get to him which is close to impossible against the better sides

This is what we see most of the time, we can’t blame players for not getting the ball to him, he needs to be able to do more in the build up than just wait for it to happen
But from all evidence he hasn’t got the ball control to be involved in the build up and more often than not he loses the ball

Doesn’t suit us

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