Haaland takes over from Gabriel Jesus as Man City reveal new number nine
Erling Haaland is the identikit number nine, and so the announcement by Manchester City on Saturday had a touch of the inevitable about it.
Erling Haaland was confirmed as Manchester City's new number nine on Saturday, taking over from Gabriel Jesus after the Brazilian joined Arsenal.
The new recruit from Borussia Dortmund was already expected to lead City's attack in the new season, and now he has the symbolic number to go along with that responsibility.
Haaland, who turns 22 on July 21, has joined a City side who edged out Liverpool to land the Premier League title on the final day of last season.
There is good reason for the high expectations that surrounded his arrival. The Norwegian scored 86 goals in 89 appearances in all competitions during two and a half years at Dortmund, with only Robert Lewandowski (123 in 108 games) and Kylian Mbappe (93 in 111 games) from Europe's top five leagues scoring more in that time.
Last season, Haaland scored 29 goals in 30 games in all competitions at a rate of one goal every 3.6 attempts, and he put away 65.8 per cent of his big chances.
City reached the semi-final stage of the FA Cup and Champions League last season, alongside their Premier League success, playing for large parts of the season with a 'false nine' attacker, rather than the out-and-out centre forward that Haaland is.
Haaland is set to be ceremonially presented as a City player on Sunday, when the club stage an event with the striker and fellow new recruits, including former Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips and ex-River Plate forward Julian Alvarez.