Erling Haaland at Man City could give Erik ten Hag what he needs at Manchester United - Liam Wood

Erling Haaland at Man City could give Erik ten Hag what he needs at Manchester United – Liam Wood

It could have been Manchester United last summer. It was almost January 2020.

Erling Haaland is set to finally land in the Premier League as Manchester City and Pep Guardiola close in on winning the goalscoring lottery. But while Haaland is the social media trend that everyone but those associated with the blue side of this Football City wanted to appear on mobiles and tablets, there is still a silver lining for United and their new manager. Erik ten Hag.

There’s no doubt that Haaland will send shivers through the Premier League; as for the dedicated defenders and supporters who pay their salaries, they were seated in the stands. He looks set for the blood and thunder of the English top flight and City, at last, have their replacement Sergio Aguero.

READ MORE: Man City set to avoid summer transfer saga as they close in on signing Erling Haaland

He might need time to adapt in the Borussia Dortmund swap deal for the Etihad Stadium. However, the Norwegian is familiar with Premier League culture, being born and raised in Leeds and watching his father, Alf Inge, star for the club in City and Erling’s hometown during his own playing days.

Alf Inge represents City in its old form and Erling in its current form. Even without a full-fledged number nine, Guardiola and his star-studded squad are on the verge of a fourth title in five seasons. European grief aside, they have also, quite alarmingly, scored 89 goals past Aguero in the Premier League alone. You wouldn’t be betting against them bringing in three figures in the remaining matches.

With a staggering goal return for Dortmund – 85 in 88 games in all competitions – Haaland will add even more weight to what is already an enticing side. He could even be joined by United Wantaway Paul Pogba as he ponders his next move. More on the subject another time.

Offering almost a fitting tribute to their beloved late super-agent, Mino Raiola, the prospect of securing transfers across the line, you’d expect, would leave Raiola proud. The respects paid by Haaland and Pogba after his tragic death showed exactly how much Raiola meant to them and countless other superstars he mentored.

But with City fans forming an orderly queue to have Haaland 9 shirts printed, United may also have gotten (almost) what they wanted from the Norwegian heading to Manchester this summer. Any lingering hope they had of seeing their own self-interest again was finally extinguished on the pitch this season.

Failure to clinch Champions League qualification will undoubtedly further impact Ten Hag and his short-term pulling power. However, if they weren’t already, City are heavy favorites to win the Premier League next campaign and that has yet to be settled either.

Ten Hag will take over as manager of Manchester United this summer.

Liverpool will of course have something to say on both matters, but if United were under any illusions about the task ahead of Ten Hag from the summer, they received four heartbreaking reminders in their Saturday afternoon demolition at the Amex. Stadium.

Rio Ferdinand said it well, it was nothing more than a trip to the seaside. Forget the buckets and shovels, however, United simply dug themselves deeper into a hole against an impressive team of Brighton.

Change is on the horizon as Ten Hag undertakes a much-needed rebuild, with more changes to come behind the scenes. His eventual Manchester landing isn’t the only high-profile one – but Haaland returning to his homeland gives United more time to tackle their next challenge.

Barring a miracle, third-place and cup trophies seem like the best-case scenario for Ten Hag and other hopefuls at this early stage, but with this slight pressure relief the Dutchman has the opportunity to take your time – and ultimately to calculate when to strike.

As fans in these regions know all too well, football moves in cycles and United are, once again, at the start of theirs while City and Liverpool continue to set the standard. But as Liverpool have proven so convincingly under Jurgen Klopp, measured but precise progression can, without a doubt, stop City from spending big.

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