Manchester City are now front runners for Erling Haaland’s signature according to recent reports.

Multiple reports are claiming that City is the chosen destination of Haaland in the upcoming summer transfer window after months of speculation over his future. It’s understood the Norwegian striker wants a move to the Etihad ahead of next season, whilst reports suggest the 21-year-old has agreed personal terms including a wage of around £500,000 a week, though City aren’t commenting on the reports.

Along with City, Haaland has been linked with a host of Europe’s top clubs, including Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Real Madrid. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp confirmed there was no chance of a move to Merseyside whilst Bayern have admitted defeat in his chase, and it also seems that Los Blancos have lost hope.

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Haaland has been free-scoring for Borussia Dortmund since joining the club from RB Salzburg in January 2020, with the striker managing 18 goals in 20 league appearances this season. Pep Guardiola would have to spend £64m on the striker if he wants to bring him to the Etihad next season, with that fee set in stone as it’s the player’s current release clause.

So, if Haaland was to make a move to City ahead of the 2022/23 season, what sort of impact could he have on Pep Guardiola’s side? To find out, we simulated the 2022/23 season with Haaland in the City squad and this is what happened.

We ‘signed’ Erling Haaland for Man City ahead of the 2022/23 season

To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2022 editor to arrange for Haaland to join City ahead of the start of the 2022/23 season, using FM22 to run the simulation. This is how Haaland’s in-game profile looks on FM22.

Erling Haaland’s in-game profile on FM22.

At just 21-years-old, Haaland is a very physical striker that can play with his back to goal and on the shoulder of the defender. His blistering pace allows him to power through defences before relying on his clinical finishing to put the ball in the back of the net.

Let’s take a look at how Haaland’s performed throughout the 2022/23 season after signing for City. Haaland scored 38 goals and registered 11 assists in the 2022/23 season, with the Norwegian recording 49 goal contributions in just 56 appearances for City in his debut season at the Etihad.

Haaland's stats for City in the 2022/23 season.
Haaland’s stats for City in the 2022/23 season.

Haaland finished the season as the top scorer in the Premier League and Champions League, with an average match rating of 7.59 across all competitions for Guardiola’s side. His rating of 7.59 made him the top performer at the club throughout the 2022/23 season, with Kevin De Bruyne second best.

Haaland registered a pass completion rate of 84% across all competitions, suggesting the 21-year-old was able to fit into Guardiola’s system well and contribute in possession to build attacks. The Norwegian striker recorded a tackle success rate of 81%, indicating that Haaland can defend from the front and win the ball back for his side to start counter-attacks and regain possession.

At the end of the 2022/23 season, Football Manager 2022 put together an overall best City XI, based on performances, statistics and other metrics. This is what City’s best XI looked like at the end of the 2022/23 season as predicted by Football Manager 2022:

City's best XI in the 2022/23 season.
City’s best XI in the 2022/23 season.

Full City best XI: (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo; Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva; Foden, Sterling, Haaland.

Haaland instantly became a starter in Guardiola’s attack and rewarded the Spanish manager’s faith in him with an impressive return in terms of goals and assists in his debut season. His arrival in the squad saw Foden move out wide, meaning Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus and Jack Grealish didn’t make the best XI.

So, how did City perform in the league and cup competitions after signing Haaland ahead of the 2022/23 season? Lets take a look.

Man City’s results from the 2022/23 simulation

City finished the 2022/23 season as Premier League champions.
City finished the 2022/23 season as Premier League champions.

Haaland helped City finish the 2022/23 season as Premier League champions, just one point ahead of fierce rivals Manchester United. City finished the season with a goal difference of +55, the best in the league and +4 better compared to their 2020/21 season.

Guardiola’s side conceded just 32 goals in 38 games, scoring 87 goals in total with Haaland contributing over a quarter of that tally with 24 goals in the Premier League. So, how did City perform in the cup competitions?

City's performances across all competitions in the 2022/23 season.
City’s performances across all competitions in the 2022/23 season.

City completed a historic treble-winning season after lifting the FA Cup and their first Champions League after 3-0 wins over Leeds and Bayern Munich respectively. City were unable to complete the quadruple after losing to Man United in the Carabao Cup semi-final.

Overall, if Erling Haaland were to sign for City ahead of the 2022/23 season, the Norwegian striker could have a massive impact on the performance of the City squad, firing them to a historic treble-winning season, including the club’s first Champions League title. Haaland finished the 2022/23 season as the top scorer in the Premier League and Champions League, proving he is worth the money as he continued his fine scoring record despite his young age.

Would you like to see Erling Haaland sign for City next season? Let us know in the comments!

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