Ferran Soriano’s hint at Man City’s Erling Haaland new tactic is a warning to Premier League rivals – Joe Bray
“I promise you it’s a football decision. It’s not a marketing or celebrity decision.”
It’s strange that Manchester City have to justify signing the best young striker in the world, but here we are. This week, CEO Ferran Soriano gave a detailed defense of how City will use Erling Haaland next season, twice insisting his commercial appeal was not factored into the signing.
Haaland will of course give City a true superstar, and with that come the marketing opportunities Soriano is referring to, but it’s the chief’s hint at Pep Guardiola’s new tactic that should excite fans.
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Speaking to Dr Football Podcast, Soriano said: “I have to say we’re very excited, but I want to tell you honestly, all football additions or signing additions are taken through a football lens, not a marketing lens or a celebrity lens.
“So we think that Txiki [Begiristain] and Pep and the whole group, they think very carefully about the players they need for the team and that’s what they sign.
“In this case, that happens to be Haaland’s profile, I think you’re right that he developed his superstar profile, but that’s not why we signed him. “We signed him because we think he’s going to score a lot of goals and he has the intelligence to adapt to our system. The system is very complex.
City previously said Haaland will have to adapt to his system rather than the rest of the squad adapt to the new signing, although Soriano then hinted at some changes to the way City play next season.
He continued: “If you see the intensity in the way they discuss how they’re going to play, it’s very sophisticated. You have to be a very sophisticated player to be able to adapt to that, and we think Haaland will. But I promise you it’s a football decision. It’s not a marketing or celebrity decision.”
Anyone who has seen Haaland kick a ball will be able to see the merits of football in signing him, with his personality and ‘brand’ an added bonus if City are to take advantage of it.
And anyone who has seen City play in the past two years will agree that it will take some readjusting to play under a proper striker. For Soriano, discussing ‘the way they are going to play’ suggests the style has been decided and there will be a recalibration underway across the squad.
City and Haaland should be a match in heaven, so it’s reassuring for Blues fans to hear that while Haaland will have to learn a new style – it’s likely to be one designed to get the best out of him.
And it has nothing to do with marketing.