Jamie Carragher says he is intrigued by how Erling Haaland will fit into Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City but believes it is “fantastic” that the striker is coming to the Premier League.
The £51m frontman scored 86 goals in 89 matches for Borussia Dortmund and will be an exciting addition to the Premier League champions’ frontline after they went through the 2021/22 season without an out-and-out No9.
Sky Sports pundit Carragher says the Norway international could make the difference in the big games for Man City but how he slots into the team’s playing style will be key.
“It’s a worry for the rest of the Premier League,” Carragher said with a smile.
“We are talking about one of the world’s greats even at such a young age, but I don’t think anyone should be raising the white flag too early because it’s going to be really interesting how he fits into the team.
“Pep Guardiola hasn’t really used a central striker in the last couple of years and he’s still been very successful.
“So, it will be really interesting to see how he settles but from the Premier League’s point of view, I think it is fantastic that we’ve got one of the world’s leading players right now joining our league.
“That doesn’t always happen, certainly at a young age, and a lot of his best years are going to be in the Premier League.
“So, it’ll be really exciting for everyone to watch but it’s obviously going to be a tough proposition trying to stop Manchester City.”
Carragher says those question marks over Haaland’s ability to slip into City’s slick style mean his signing doesn’t guarantee the team titles.
“They have so many players now who don’t play through the middle. They keep the ball so well and they control the game so well. Maybe they will lose a little bit of that,” he said.
“So, I don’t think it’s a forgone conclusion that means City are going to win everything.
“They have a great team and a great manager, and I actually think Haaland coming in won’t make that much of a difference in terms of how many points they get. They always get in the mid-90s for points anyway, which is a remarkable feat.
“He may have been brought in just to make that difference in those games where they just fell short, maybe more in the Champions League than the Premier League actually.
“He’ll change, he’ll evolve, he’s still a lot to learn, he’s a young player. He’ll learn off one of the greatest coaches in world football. He’ll bring things to his game.
“But he should also remember not to change too much. He is what he is. Powerful, his pace, the goals he gets…
“That’s what I’m intrigued with, how he fits into that Pep Guardiola style which is a bit more slow and technical than the end-to-end type of football you see in the Bundesliga.”
‘Liverpool do need to refresh frontline’
Meanwhile, City’s title rivals Liverpool have reached an agreement with Benfica to sign striker Darwin Nunez in a deal worth up to £85m.
Sadio Mane looks poised to leave the club and while Carragher says it is “sad to see” Liverpool’s front three of Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino broken up, he believes the refresh brought about by the arrival of Nunez and January signing Luis Diaz was needed.
“Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp normally get the recruitment right, certainly when they spend big and the type of figures we’re talking here that’s what they spent on the goalkeeper [Alisson] and [Virgil] van Dijk and they made a huge difference,” said Carragher.
“Liverpool do need to refresh the frontline because of the age of that front three who have been absolutely fantastic for the last four or five years with Liverpool.
“It is sad to see it broken up in some ways but it had to come to an end sooner or later.
“With Sadio Mane looking like he’s going to move on, Liverpool had to do something and he’s the one they’ve identified.
“I think the start of next season Liverpool’s front three will be Salah, Nunez and Diaz on the left.”