La Liga reaction to Erling Haaland shows Man City are changing transfer landscape – Jack Flintham
It’s now once week since the worst kept secret in world football was finally revealed.
Erling Haaland’s move to the Etihad was inevitable once official confirmation emerged that Manchester City had reached an agreement with Borussia Dortmund for the forward. The decision to coincide the announcement of his arrival with the anniversary of his father joining the Blues made the switch all the more sweet for City supporters.
However, the subsequent meltdown over in Spain was the cherry on top of the cake for City fans. On Wednesday, La Liga president Javier Tebas accused Man City and PSG of ‘continuously breaching the current regulations of financial fair play.’
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A dig at two clubs who have rubbed Real Madrid and Barcelona up the wrong way this transfer window, if ever there was one. While City attracted Haaland, Kylian Mbappe snubbed Los Blancos in favour of staying with PSG.
One day later Real Madrid president Florentino Perez — who was still licking his wounds from losing out on two generational talents of their eras — claimed that Haaland would only make their bench. A bizarre comment even by Perez’s standards.
Admittedly, Karim Benzema was at his terrifyingly brilliant best last season but the Frenchman is now 34, and a red-hot Haaland would surely pip him to a starting place in 2022/23. Perez’s comments screamed of sour grapes and of a realisation that the pecking order has changed in European football.
To round-off a somewhat spectacular week, Spanish media outlet AS used their front page to claim that Madrid are already plotting to bring the Norwegian to the Bernabeu in 2024. They even went as far as to insist that Haaland wants to become a ‘Galactico’ one day.
This was now bordering on desperation, but at no stage did it become surprising. For some time now Real Madrid and Barcelona have been the premium destinations for footballers at their peak. Barca managing to keep hold of Lionel Messi for as long as they did while Real recruited Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and the likes, are prime examples of this.
This status quo is no longer the case. The rise of City has been there for all to see since the takeover in the late 2000s but Haaland’s move has taken them to another level.
City and, to a lesser extent, PSG are now shopping on the same aisle as La Liga’s top brass and it is not going down well. The Premier League’s quality and high standards have been known for some time but not (arguably) since Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United has there been a team in the position to draw the biggest names; Pep Guardiola’s side have now reached that level.
Blues fans must now learn to accept the fact that these attacks from further afield will become more frequent as time goes on. As Guardiola’s team start to gain dominance in the Champions League, the complaints from Tebas, Perez and company will become louder.
What City must do is continue to focus on where they are headed instead of being dragged into this squabbling. Guardiola has a plan for where he sees his team and his successor will likely have similar ideals.
As the Blues continue to grow, Spain’s big boys must come to terms with the fact that City are here to stay and that there is little they can do about it.