Manchester City are in pole position will win the race to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.
Sources in both Spain and Germany on Friday suggested City have agreed a deal with the 21-year-old striker, who for months has been tipped to join Real Madrid in the summer.
The deal could end up costing City around £100m, once agent fees and signing-on bonuses have been added to Haaland’s £63m release clause.
From a purely footballing perspective, arguably the best young striker in the world joining a Pep Guardiola side already stacked with attacking talent is an incredibly exciting prospect.
However, regardless of Haaland’s incredible talents in front of goal, there are a few things City will need to consider when he arrives, not least what his arrival will mean for two other young striking prospects on the club’s books.
At different points over the past few months Liam Delap and Julian Alvarez have been the names on City fans’ lips – a strange scenario given that only one of them has actually played for City, and only a handful of times at that.
The absence of an elite striker in Guardiola’s squad has no doubt added to the excitement surrounding both, but how would they fit in at the Etihad Stadium under the shadow of Haaland?
On a weekend that saw the Haaland return from injury the day after a move to City was widely reported, Delap and Alvarez did their utmost to ensure they are not forgotten about.
Delap has recently made his own comeback from fitness woes and on Saturday scored a brace to secure a 2-1 win for the EDS away at Crystal Palace. Coincidentally both goals were assisted James McAtee, a combination City supporters will be hoping translates into the first team.
Over in Argentina, Alvarez found the back of the net too. The 22-year-old Argentina international has enjoyed a stratospheric rise at River Plate, prompting City to sign him for an initial fee of around £14m on January deadline day.
Until July at least he will stay with River, for whom he converted the second of a remarkable three penalties in Sunday’s 4-0 win over Gimnasia – taking his tally for the season to five goals in six matches.
From the point of view of both young attackers, the signing of Haaland could be seen as a bad thing. Should he join them at City, Haaland will obviously be Guardiola’s first-choice striker, a reality that would surely limit the minutes of both Delap and Alvarez.
Delap is only 19, so perhaps regular first-team outings aren’t quite as vital for him, but the 22-years-old Alvarez is at a crucial stage of his career. Too long stuck on the bench could kill the momentum he has built up over the past couple of years.
Alvarez is a versatile attacker though, meaning that Guardiola could opt to start both he and Haaland in the same starting line-up. The Argentine can play as a right-winger, a role he could potentially make his own over the years to come as Riyad Mahrez moves towards his mid-30s.
Even if Haaland’s arrival somewhat blocks Delap’s access to regular minutes, the youngster would no doubt learn an awful lot from one of the best goal-scorers around. Haaland will need to be rested at times too, affording Delap chances to make his mark as an understudy.
Of course, only Guardiola knows how he is going to play this. But what is clear is that City could have a star trio of attackers for the next decade or more.
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