Erling Haaland has landed in Manchester to complete his £51million move to the newly-crowned Premier League champions – as Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano delivered a brutal assessment of the amount of money spent by rivals Manchester United..
Norway striker Haaland arrived from Barcelona, where he underwent a medical by Dr Ramon Cugat, whom Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has worked with for three decades.
Haaland, who has joined from Borussia Dortmund, will visit City’s training ground on Wednesday to complete his move and pose for pictures and take part in interviews, for his official unveiling by his new club.
The 21-year-old, considered the most exciting young striker in Europe, has agreed a five-year contract worth about £375,000 a week, which puts him among City’s top earners. City are understood to have agreed to pay Dortmund the £51m transfer fee in instalments, the first of which is worth around £30m. Haaland scored 85 goals in 88 matches for Dortmund after joining from RB Salzburg for £17.1 million in January 2020.
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City chief executive Soriano said the Haaland deal represented value for money for the champions, who have offset the low transfer fee for such a formidable young player with the big salary he is being paid. “We are evolving to a time when the big players can choose, and Haaland has chosen us,” Soriano told RAC1, the Catalan radio station. “You have seen the transfer figures, and they are very reasonable. The salary we are paying him is what we can afford and what he is entitled to.
“He has had all the peace of mind and the time to choose where to play. We have been close to him, we have explained the project to him. But the money could have been given to him by Manchester United, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid. He has decided where he wants to go and we are happy. Our focus is on football, on playing well and winning, rather than on star players. And we lacked a centre forward. We had someone spectacular like Sergio Agüero, we lost him because of his age, and we have spent more than a year looking for a replacement and Haaland is it. We will introduce him soon.”
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Soriano said that Haaland will be given time to adapt but insisted the young forward will thrive at City. “We are sure Haaland will work,” said Soriano. “There will be some time to adapt and patience is needed, but the physical, technical, talent and mentality he has, we are sure he’ll succeed. He will have to change the way he plays a bit to adapt to our style and system.”
Soriano also defended City from claims they and the likes of Paris Saint-Germain are ruining football because they have state-backed wealth behind them. “People construct narratives that are lies, that don’t make sense,” he said. “If you look at the income of English clubs, the biggest earner is Manchester United. They earn £100m more than City, Liverpool and Chelsea. We don’t have more money. In fact, we have less.
“I have three shareholders: one from the United Arab Emirates, one from the United States and one from China. They are three investment funds that are looking for profitability and that we try to win and grow the business and make money. How much money has United spent in recent years and how much has City spent? If you analyse it, you will see that United has spent more, and that City has won 11 titles in the last few years and United one or two, and no league titles. The French market is different. PSG has revenues of €600 million and the next biggest club €250 million. There is a big difference here, but you can’t compare City with PSG. We are not a club state. We are a club owned by three shareholders.”