How Man City could line up with Erling Haaland after £51m transfer confirmed

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Manchester City could seal their third Premier League title in four seasons within the next fortnight – yet Pep Guardiola's side are about to become even stronger.

The reigning champions confirmed an agreement has been reached for the signing of Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland this summer. The Norway international was the centre of a transfer tussle between a host of Europe's elite clubs, but Guardiola seems to finally have landed his number nine.

Haaland has enjoyed a meteoric rise since enjoying a memorable debut campaign in the Champions League with Red Bull Salzburg, and has scored almost a goal per game since signing for Dortmund in December 2019. Subject to the agreement of personal terms, the 21-year-old will arrive at the Etihad in a £51million deal.

City have successfully adapted to life without a recognised striker in recent seasons, but the impending signing of Haaland offers Guardiola far more options in a squad already blessed with an array of attacking talent. Here is a look at how the title challengers could line up next season with the prolific Norway striker up front.


Guardiola's side enjoy the lion's share of possession against almost every opponent, maximising the quality they boast in central midfield. Rodri often serves as the lone anchor, allowing Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva to roam forward and create.

Haaland could slot seamlessly in as a natural focal point up front, with support from Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez from the wings. City are already the division's top scorers, but could see this total rise further with the summer signing reaping the rewards from quality service both centrally and from out wide.

4-2-3-1 (De Bruyne at 10)

Dependent on the opponents, Guardiola could always opt to create a greater shield for his defence with another midfielder to sit alongside Rodri. Ilkay Gundogan has played this role at times, although the former Dortmund star has also regularly popped up with goals over recent seasons.

This system would free De Bruyne from any defensive responsilities, and in turn pair one of Europe's most-feared strikers more closely with the elite Belgian playmaker. The duo could also more effectively lead a press from the front, dependent on City's approach.

4-2-3-1 (Foden)

Guardiola already has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal, with a host of stars capable of fulfilling numerous roles. Foden is perhaps the standout of these versatile stars, with the England international most recently excelling on the left flank.

However, the 4-2-3-1 system could also be utilised to shift De Bruyne into a deeper 'quarterback' role and allow Foden the freedom to work alongside Haaland. Raheem Sterling or Jack Grealish could easily battle for the left-wing role, and it'd allow the two 21-year-old's to forge an understanding which could theoretically strike fear into defences for the next decade.


The system which was once the standard in the Premier League has gone out of favour in recent seasons. Guardiola's preference for midfield control means an extra forward in place of a midfielder seems unlikely.

However, Haaland could provide the perfect foil to a number of City's attackers, and De Bruyne and Rodri would be more than capable of still dominating possession. The incoming signing could partner with Gabriel Jesus, Foden, Sterling or even fellow summer signing Julian Alvarez.

  • Manchester City FC
  • Pep Guardiola
  • Erling Haaland

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