Ex-Manchester City defender Bacary Sagna has hailed his former club’s new signing Erling Haaland – claiming the striker “was born to be a footballer” and “wants to destroy every opponent”.
The Norwegian arrived at the Etihad Stadium this summer, having scored 85 goals in 88 games across all competitions for Borussia Dortmund, with 29 of that haul coming in just 30 appearances last season.
It is a phenomenal record for a player who only turns 22 later this month – and Sagna has no doubts that Haaland will hit the ground running in England.
Speaking exclusively to Lord Ping, he said: “For sure, I have no doubts about [Haaland continuing his phenomenal goal record].
“He was born to be a footballer and if you look at what he has been doing since he started his career and think about how young he is, then you know that he has the right attitude and a killer instinct.
“I don’t like to make comparisons, and I think they are different players, but he has a similar mentailly to [Kylian] Mbappe – he just wants to destroy every opponent he faces.”
Haaland is not the only new face at the Etihad Stadium, with Julian Alvarez returning from his loan spell at River Plate to further bolster Pep Guardiola’s impressive attacking options.
City scored 99 goals en route to the Premier League title last term, despite regularly not fielding a recognised centre-forward.
But Guardiola appears to have altered his approach ahead of 2022-23, as his side look to claim a first-ever Champions League – in addition to more domestic glory.
“I think the whole football world is worried about Manchester City, not because of the new additions, but because of their stature as a club, because they have great players and a great coach,” Sagna continued.
“It is always difficult to play against City because of how they dominate the ball and now it is even scarier for opponents because they have a proper No9 in Haaland.
“With Haaland, they can play in different ways. They have someone that can be picked out from crosses and have an aerial threat, so this gives them more options than they had last season.
“I don’t want to say that Haaland is the answer because it would show a lack of respect to the players that City have had up front in the Champions League.
“I think playing with an out-and-out No9 rather than a floating striker or a false nine can make a massive difference.
“The players that have played in that position in recent times for City get involved and link play, they don’t stay within the central attacking zones or the box.
“City’s opponents in the Champions League defend their box in a compact way and we know that for all teams, it can be hard to unlock those types of defences, so he will give them a different option and allow City to be a bit more direct when they need to be.
“Unfortunately for City, they’ve been eliminated when teams have done this and caught them on the break, but next season it will be totally different because they have more options and players like [Joao] Cancelo, [Riyad] Mahrez and [Kevin] De Bruyne will be able to find him with their quality.”
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