JACK GAUGHAN: Man City enjoyed their strongest transfer window since the arrival of Pep Guardiola in 2016… ending it at a substantial profit after Erling Haaland landed is a feat few would have predicted
- Pep Guardiola had the summer he had been waiting for for several years
- They managed to sign Erling Haaland while turning a profit in the window
- The likes of Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling were sold for big money
- Kalvin Phillips has also joined while Marc Cucurella could also be on the way
You have to shake, you have to move. With the same guys, it’s almost impossible. We change, myself included… So we have to move.
Pep Guardiola, May 2021
This is the summer that Pep Guardiola has wanted for a few years.
When he spoke of shaking and moving ahead of the Champions League final loss to Chelsea, it was not in reference to various videos of the Manchester City manager dancing which have gone viral over the years, but to the remodeling of his team.
Erling Haaland celebrates opening his Manchester City account in the first half
Guardiola was convinced City needed some tinkering. His team needed, if not more quality, at least new energy.
As impactful as his signatures were on the pitch, they had just as much effect in enlivening a dressing room so accustomed to winning, keeping players on their toes.
It could be slightly different this year, with brutal goal-scoring machine that is Erling Haaland coming through the doors for £51million and scoring within 12 minutes of his debut against Bayern Munich in a friendly. punctual and affected by weather conditions on Sunday.
Pep Guardiola guided City to victory over his former club at Lambeau Field in Wisconsin
Yet even Haaland has the added function of giving City players something new to focus on behind the scenes.
They have already started singing the chorus of a song created at his former club Dortmund, serenading him as he gave a speech at a dinner party in Houston last week.
“Guardiola is a bit crazy and I like that,” Haaland said. “I can’t tell you too much after a week, but I trained well and I’m ready for what’s next.”
Guardiola wants players who can fit in without any problems and saw that with Haaland. He’s credited his biggest stars, especially the ‘humble’ Kevin De Bruyne, for any ego left behind by hosting someone who will steal the majority of the attention. That humility, he believes, is what makes City what it is.
There were tears when Oleksandr Zinchenko left camp and moved to Arsenal. Gabriel Jesus had already followed the same path and Raheem Sterling left for Chelsea.
City acknowledged that all three wanted more playing time guarantees and sought to secure market value for them. The trio sold for a total of £125m, with a youth group for around £30m as well.
City made a profit selling Gabriel Jesus (L) and Raheem Sterling (R)
Julian Alvarez was signed in January from River Plate for £14m and once Kalvin Phillips from Leeds United was secured for £42m they were almost done.
A new left-back would complete the strongest transfer window since Guardiola’s arrival in 2016, although Brighton’s £50m price tag for Marc Cucurella is proving difficult.
The move and shake-up could have been done last summer, but there was no value in the market given the pandemic and City refused to sell at low prices. So they waited.
“I’m excited,” Guardiola said here in Green Bay. “Sometimes the market is strange. Normally we are a team that buys and does not sell a lot. This summer for various reasons, we are selling some players. If they stayed longer, there would be no problem.
“They have proven how good they are. But sometimes the players want more and the club thinks it’s the right time to do it.
“Chelsea and Arsenal paid the money – that’s fair.”
Haaland thought he had a second after converting a cross from Bernardo Silva – but it was offside
City would have signed Haaland regardless of the upcoming fee, but ending the window at a substantial profit after landing him is a feat they would have predicted.
Saturday brought a promising first glimpse, with Haaland poaching the only goal against Bayern inside the penalty area to complete the smart work of De Bruyne and Jack Grealish, the latter appearing sharp on the trip.
Haaland – who admitted his fitness wasn’t perfect – spoke of sharing a ‘vibe’ with Grealish and the dangerously bonded couple.
“I’m sure everyone will be watching his first game but he signed for five or six years, I think he will score some goals in that time.” said De Bruyne. “He doesn’t feel like he feels the pressure.
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