Haaland ‘could be next Ibrahimovic’ if Guardiola keeps ‘wasting’ Man City star
Erling Haaland is at risk of becoming the "next Zlatlan Ibrahimovic" if Pep Guardiola keeps "wasting him" at Manchester City.
Haaland hit the ground running after joining City last summer, and has banged in 27 goals in 25 Premier League matches, including four hat-tricks. But the goals have slowed down in recent months for the Norwegian, and Richard Keys reckons the striker's performances are suffering due to the lack of service he's receiving at the Etihad.
Haaland's plight reminds the pundit of another centre forward who Pep Guardiola struggled to accommodate into his team when he was boss of Barcelona, Ibrahimovic. The Swedish forward joined Barca in 2010 from Inter Milan, only to be flogged back to them on loan the following season, before being sold to AC Milan in 2011.
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Ibrahimovic failed to fit into Pep's system, leading to his fallout with the Spanish strategist and exit from the Nou Camp. And unless Pep makes some drastic changes to City's style of play, Keys fears that Haaland's time under Pep could mirror Ibrahimovic's.
Keys wrote on his self-titled blog page: "He (Haaland) is awesome. He’s got everything you would want in a No9, but Guardiola is both frustrating and wasting him. If possession is your god – and it is Guardiola’s – then the coach will be happy with ‘team’ performances.
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"If you live off goals – and the service to prove you’re the best at that difficult art – Haaland must be pulling his luxurious blond hair out. He needs chances. He needs balls into areas where he can utilise his strength and speed. It’s almost as if City want to starve him of those things.
He cut a very frustrated character again at the weekend. Are we seeing history repeat itself? Remember when Guardiola signed Zlatan at Barca, but couldn’t work out a way to get the best out of him? So he sold him after a season. Ah – there were ‘personality issues’ I’m always told. Of course there were. Zlatan quickly got fed up being starved of what he needed."
Despite participating in his first season with City, Haaland's agent has already rocked the boat by linking the forward with a move to Real Madrid, and Keys doubts the flagrant declaration was just a coincidence.
He added: "Was it just a co-incidence that Haaland’s agent, Rafaela Pimenta, was talking so glowingly about Real Madrid last week? It’s the ‘dream’ move for players she said. I wonder." But Keys isn't the only person who's challenged Pep's use of Haaland. Jamie Carragher also questioned if the attacker chose the wrong club last summer after witnessing his recent troubles with City.
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