city's bargain | 

Erling Haaland v Darwin Nunez - who will win the battle of the new super-strikers

Darwin Nunez and Erling Haaland (Adam Davy/Nick Potts/PA).

Darwin Nunez and Erling Haaland (Adam Davy/Nick Potts/PA).

THEY are the big-money signings that could have a huge impact on the Premier League title race, but who will win the scoring battle between Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez.

Manchester City won the race to land super-striker Haaland, after he turned down offers from Real Madrid and Barcelona in favour of a move to his dad’s former club.

Now Liverpool have signed a deal that could break their transfer record to recruit Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez (inset) from Benfica, with pressure mounting on both to live up to their billing in their first seasons in England.

HAALAND v NUNEZ

Both players are more traditional number nines, which is a slight departure for Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp from the tactics they have employed recently.

However, the Premier League’s top two sides acquiring genuine centre-forwards suggests their approaches will be tweaked for the coming season.

VALUE FOR MONEY?

At £51milllion, Haaland appears to be a bargain.

The most wanted striker in world football was available for a cut-price fee due to a clause in his contract with Borussia Dortmund and while his wages will be astronomical, he offers a sound investment for City.

Nunez is a little more of a gamble.

Costing more and not as proven at the highest level, he has some questions to answer at Liverpool, but he is a youthful talent with real class in his boots.

WHO NEEDS GOALS MORE?

It could be argued that neither Liverpool or City are lacking goals, but they have come up short in some high-profile games.

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds failed to score in their three Cup finals last season and City failed to take their chances in a Champions League semi-final they should have won against Real Madrid.

Haaland and Nunez appear to have the raw scoring power to put that right, but the pressure is on for them to deliver.

THE MISSING INGREDIENT?

City tried to sign Harry Kane last summer and failed to land another target after that deal fell through.

Pep Guardiola persisted primarily with a false nine, rotating between the likes of Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden, with Gabriel Jesus infrequently used, but an out-and-out goal-scorer like Haaland will offer a different, more traditional option.

Mohamed Salah provided the weight of Liverpool’s goals, but, when his form started to dry up in the final three months of the season, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota both had good scoring spells. However, Klopp’s side played in three finals, winning two, without scoring in normal time in any of them, despite creating a host of chances.

WHAT WILL THE NEW BOYS CHANGE?

City will have a different look next season with Haaland leading their line.

Guardiola’s tactics were designed to work around his lack of a lead striker, but his big signing gives his side a whole new dimension.

In a City side which scored 99 times in the Premier League last season, he will get a multitude of chances and it would be surprising for him not to remain prolific.

Nunez will benefit from a full pre-season with his new club, but Klopp has often been reluctant to push new signings straight into the action, although January arrival Luis Diaz was a rare exception to that.

The departure of Mane opens up a space on the forward line, but Nunez, at least early on, could find himself competing with Jota and Roberto Firmino for the central role, especially as Klopp himself said the player was “a work in progress”.

VERDICT

City appeared to have sealed the better deal, but that is not to say Nunez won’t be a big success.

From what we have seen of Haaland, he is a raw goal-scoring machine who is focused on scoring and nothing else.

He is proven in the Champions League and on the international stage and should light up the Premier League.

Success in Portugal has not always been a guarantee for success in England, but Nunez appears to have that magic spark.

Klopp’s ability to get the best out of players should also ensure he improves, but before either of these two has kicked a ball, Haaland is the player you would want to have signed.


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