Welcome to Overtime’s Winter Transfer Solutions for the 2022 January transfer window. Our club reporters will use the latest statistics to suggest two key players each club should break the bank for. Lee Jackson looks at Manchester City below.
After exploding out of the blocks at the start of this campaign, Manchester City find themselves atop of the Premier League, in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League and through to the 4th round of the FA Cup. Despite the good form shown this season so far, Pep Guardiola will be looking to dip into the transfer market to iron out a few issues that have prevented his team from winning the elusive Champions League.
The main area in question is centre forward which has been void really ever since Sergio Agüero’s injuries hampered him. The legendary Argentine striker moved onto FC Barcelona on a free transfer but never really got going due to injury and unfortunately has been forced to retire at the age of 33 due to a heart condition. The acquisition of Gabriel Jesus from Brazilian outfit Palmeiras in the January window of 2017 was one questioned by many as he was seen to be the successor to Agüero. That hasn’t really been the case although he is still only 24 years old. City has found success despite not having a recognised centre forward but Guardiola will be itching to get his hands on that Champions League trophy that has eluded him ever since he took charge.
Guardiola knows that the Champions League-winning teams all have great centre forward options and that he must obtain such a player in order to give his team the best possible chance of lifting the trophy. The other position is central midfield, particularly the deep-lying role which Rodri occupies at the moment. Fernandinho is still at the club but at 36 years old, Guardiola will have one eye on who he can bring in to replace to Brazilian figurehead. Below are two players which could catapult City to that first Champions League trophy they’re desperate to capture.Embed from Getty Images
Erling Haaland, 21, Forward, Borussia Dortmund
Erling Haaland is a name we’ve all come to learn relatively quickly since he exploded onto the scene in the 2019-20 season for RB Salzburg and Norway U-20. The first real exposure that brought Haaland to light was when Norway played Honduras in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2019. That match put down a benchmark of what was to come from the Norwegian starlet after he netted an incredible nine goals in that match, four coming in the first half followed by five in the second to seal a resounding 12-0 victory.
That kind of form was reciprocated domestically in the following season for Salzburg after scoring 16 times and assisting four in a measly 14 matches. That was only the start as he enjoyed stepping on the Champions League stage scoring 10 times in eight games for Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund which he sealed a move to in January 2020. The move to Dortmund has rocketed his value tenfold as he continues to perform game after game. In the first six months of his Dortmund career, Haaland played 18 times across all competitions contributing towards 18 goals and assists in the process. His first full season was one to remember for the Norwegian as he found the net 27 times and assisted six in the Bundesliga alone. Despite those numbers, he was outshone by André Silva of Eintracht Frankfurt and Robert Lewandowski of FC Bayern Munich. The Bundesliga doesn’t necessarily get the respect it deserves in terms of quality and the numbers these strikers produce proves that.
|Borussia Dortmund (2020-)||79||80||21||1|
|RB Salzburg (2019-2020)||27||29||7||2|
|Molde FK (2017-2019)||50||20||6||0|
|Bryne FK (2015-2017)||30||18||0||0|
On the other hand, Haaland finished the Champions League campaign as the top scorer with 10 goals in eight appearances ahead of Kylian Mbappé and Neymar who sat in 2nd and 3rd place respectively. He was scoring on average 70 minutes per goal which was no surprise given the form he was in. Haaland faced City in the quarter-finals last season but came up short as Dortmund were beaten 4-2 on aggregate. Dortmund finished the season as German Cup winners but if Haaland wants to cement his legacy on world football he will have his eye set on trophies.
In the present season, Haaland has had a few injury problems which have affected his season but in particular his Champions League campaign not being able to register a single goal or assist in three matches which have been a contributing factor as to why Dortmund slipped out of the competition on goal difference into the UEFA Europa League. Despite the injuries, he is still having a better season statistically than most but it only seems right for a player like Haaland to be the final piece in the puzzle for City lifting the Champions League. Quick, powerful, imposing and as prolific as they come, there’s no surprise as to why Haaland is one of the hot targets in world football at the moment with many of the European giants looking to acquire his services. His father and representative Alf-Inge Håland also has City blood running through his veins as he featured 38 times over three seasons.
Gavi, 17, Midfield, FC Barcelona
Pablo Gavira or Gavi as he’s more commonly known is already tipped for glory with many touting the young talent to be FC Barcelona’s new ‘Xavi’ which is high praise early on. At the ripe age of 17, Gavi has been introduced to the senior team as boss Xavi looks to mastermind the rebuild of Barcelona and get them back at the top of world football where they should be.
As a youth player, Gavi started at Real Betis but what put him on Barcelona’s radar was his tally of 95 goals for Betis during his time there. Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid were among the teams interested in Gavi but the pull of La Masia proved beneficial for Barcelona as they acquired his services in 2015.
|FC Barcelona (2021-)||25||1||3||0|
|FC Barcelona B (2021-)||3||0||0||0|
Fast forward to 2021 when Gavi made his senior team debut against Getafe CF after coming on as a substitute. He’s been ever-present in the Barcelona midfield ever since making 25 appearances, six of which came in the Champions League. The Spanish international can play a multitude of roles in midfield ranging from deep-lying playmaker to box-to-box midfielder. Since David Silva’s departure, Gavi could well be the man to take the reigns and become their new magician.
In October 2021 he became Spain’s youngest ever international player at 17 years and 62 days which is no surprise as he’s learning from the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets. He already has the possession game instilled in his DNA coming through the ranks at Barcelona as well as grit and determination which is needed to succeed at the highest level. If City were to spend big and get this transfer across the line then they’d have a world-class talent to add to their ranks.