Haaland and Nunez deals will leave the two main rivals wondering how to catch up | Football


METERManchester City and Liverpool have done their key business early. The arrivals of Erling Haaland and Darwin Núñez, respectively, will give clubs great positivity heading into pre-season and rivals will already be wondering how they can catch up.

It is of great importance for a player and a team to allow a transfer to settle for as long as possible. Tying up deals in June means they can work out the details off the pitch, like where to live and, if necessary, organize their children’s education. That’s a real help because it allows a player to focus on adjusting to a new work environment and all that goes with it.

Teammates will get a huge boost when they see a world-class player has been signed, which will enhance their squad. If Liverpool hadn’t replaced Sadio Mané quickly, their players might have felt uneasy, knowing that a top player was gone and there was no one to replace his goals, assists and complete game.


That City and Liverpool have brought in players will excite the team and people will realize that they need to up their game because the newcomers will push and challenge them. Players need a competitive environment to thrive.

When things get done early, it seeps into everyone’s mindset. I talked to a player who said his team didn’t get anyone for a season and they didn’t perform well. Next season they signed three of the best players and won the Premier League because new players inspire confidence and inspire people.

For those in the chasing pack of the top six, it means pressure to get things done. Seeing a rival spend considerable sums on a striker will make players at those clubs wonder why their teams aren’t doing the same and why they should read transfer rumors with hope as City and Liverpool integrate Haaland and Nunez. Watching others improve while stagnating is difficult for ambitious players. They’ll wonder how they can match them when they’re already on the defensive in mid-June.

Selling Mané was the right move for Liverpool, not because he’s not good enough (he was their best player in the final months of the season after returning from the African Cup of Nations), but when money is put on the table. for someone entering their last year of contract, it is the sensible option to take. It was clear that he wanted to leave, so reacting to replace him is better than forcing him to stay.

If I had to pick one manager to use money wisely, it’s Jürgen Klopp. I don’t think any other manager would use that £30m so wisely. Not always a strength for other managers, but Liverpool recruit well and use funds wisely. Nunez has a six-year deal, which gives him plenty of time to grow, and he’ll be worth a sale.

Business-wise, it was the right move. I am sad to see Mané go because he has been brilliant and Liverpool fans rightly love him, but change is not to be feared.

Sadio Mané at Bayern Munich this Tuesday after signing for the club from Liverpool. Photograph: Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

For the team in which Núñez was at Benfica, he did not always have the greatest support, but he held the ball well and was able to dribble. He caused some problems against Liverpool in the Champions League.

It was very different for Benfica and stood out like a sore thumb. I always try to look not only at a player but at what he has around him: Nunez had two decent wingers but the whole team was based on him. He was all about scoring and even if he couldn’t score he would hold on and link up the play. I can see why Liverpool went after him.

At City, Pep Guardiola is always evolving; he has different styles and changes small details often, which he will do with Haaland. City are not going to make such an effort to sign Haaland and not take advantage of his strengths. With the wide players they have and the areas they attack on the flanks, Haaland will be six or eight yards out to take advantage of them. He will get 20 goals next season thanks to the players around him.

There will be buzz about him but City got 93 points last season so there isn’t much room for improvement. They are bringing in Haaland to further evolve, while making sure their rivals don’t get a world-class striker. They know that he will have a sale value if City decide to let him go later, perhaps to Barcelona or Real Madrid.

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There will be pressure on him to make a difference for City in Europe, but we have to manage expectations. Many of City’s big-name signings have been slow to settle. Raheem Sterling took three seasons to reach double figures of league goals, Rodri took a long time to adapt to the Premier League and Jack Grealish has shown how difficult it is to automatically fit into a Guardiola side. But Haaland has the talent and temperament to do it.

City and Liverpool are the teams to beat on the pitch and their savvy business sense and ruthless nature on the transfer market show they are hard to beat too.