Erling Haaland's first Man City interview!
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On the surface the arrivals of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez should be good news for the Premier League. Two world-class strikers beaming down at a stadium near you soon. Haaland, in particular, will be – if he isn’t already – a megastar. His scoring record in the Bundesliga stands at almost a goal a game and he has carried on in the same vein for Norway during the Nations League window.
Serviced by the creative worker bees at Manchester City, he could be a phenomenon. Meanwhile Nunez looks a great fit for Liverpool with his pace and dynamism. He has something of his fellow Uruguayan Edinson Cavani about him – except he is 22.
One problem, though. If the league was a two-horse race without these two exciting additions last season, how much bigger might the gap be next season?
Chelsea, who finished third last season, were 19 points adrift of City. Nothing that has happened since the change of ownership at Stamford Bridge has indicated the gap will be closed. Quite the opposite with no Toni Rudiger.
Spurs, who came fourth, have more momentum but they will also have Champions League business to juggle next season. With nothing like the squad depth of the top two. Arsenal will still be in a growing phase while Manchester United are…well…Manchester United.
It is inconceivable that they will be as bad as last season again but a drifting oil tanker takes some turning around. The new fixture list came out this week. By the time City and Liverpool meet for the first time on October 15 there could already be daylight between them and the rest.
Between them, they won 57 out of 76 games last season and only lost five. It is in no-one’s interest bar theirs for their dominance to grow still further. It may take Haaland and Nunez a little time to adjust to the pace and intensity of the Premier League but both mega-clubs have the resources to bleed them in if necessary.
The Bundesliga will be a closer fit in terms of assimilation for Haaland than the Portuguese League is for Nunez but he shaped superbly at Anfield in the Champions League last season. Of course Sadio Mane, if he goes, will be a miss but the depth Liverpool have assembled in their forward line is considerable.
For City, Haaland comes with the added bonus that he is unlikely to be running on fumes come the end of the season because he will not be playing in the World Cup. Norway have not qualified for Qatar.
The signposts point to another head to head between English football’s pace-setters – only one played out in even grander isolation. While that may be great for City and Liverpool, it is a prospective problem for the Premier League as a whole.
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