Haaland faces enormous pressure at Man City as the missing piece of the jigsaw

Erling Haaland has been touted as the best striker in the world. And the numbers surrounding the Norwegian sensation suggest this claim is difficult to argue with.

Haaland has broken more records than a drunken rock star in a hotel room, to establish himself as the most wanted man in world football this summer. And neither does he appear to be lacking in self confidence off the pitch as well as on it.

It's inevitable he will leave Borussia Dortmund this summer and he is destined to end up at Manchester City, who will meet his release clause of £67m and hand him a lucrative deal worth almost £450,000-a-week.

Reports claim Haaland has been unable to turn down the lure of working under Pep Guardiola, despite having the pick of where he wants to go. Fair enough.

But Haaland, who is still just 21 and lost his agent Mino Raiola to a long illness last week, has no idea of the pressure he will now be taking on once he arrives at the Etihad this summer.

In the mind of Guardiola, Haaland is the missing piece of the most expensive jigsaw football has ever seen put together. He is the long-term replacement for club record scorer Sergio Aguero. Someone who can add the finishing touches, quite literally, to the long term project of conquering Europe.

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Nothing Guardiola saw in Spain this week will have changed his mind about what is needed to make his side the kings of the continent. In fact, the Devon Loch-like collapse inside the Bernabeu will have enhanced his determination to add Haaland to his masterplan and plough ahead with landing the Champions League once and for all.

If two games proved once and for all that Guardiola needs a paper No.9 like Haaland or England captain Harry Kane, instead of makeshift imposters in that role such as Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne, it was the seismic semi finals with Real Madrid.

City led by two clear goals on four different occasions during both legs, but wasted a host of chances to kill-off Carlo Ancelotti's side.

Had Karim Benzema been in blue instead of white, City would be looking forward to a final against Liverpool now, instead of jetting back from the Spanish capital licking wounds more deep and painful than at any other time since Guardiola took charge in 2016.

In the end the ultimate price was paid, but whose fault is that? At least Haaland appears to share the same vision as Guardiola.

In a recent interview Haaland said: "My dream is to win the Champions League like Manchester City". When reminded City had not actually landed the prize that still eludes them, he added: "No, they dream as well."

But while Haaland appears to be a special talent, let's not forget all his goals have come in the Bundesliga and Norwegian league, as opposed to the Premier League. He has still to prove himself at the highest domestic level for one of the most demanding managers in the game – and we all know that nothing is straightforward when it comes to Guardiola.

The expectation on Haaland to deliver will be off the charts, but he will have to come up with the goods. There is no other option, because if he doesn't, Guardiola and his bosses will have nowhere left to turn and no aces left to play.

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