John Barnes has told us that Manchester City’s signing of Erling Haaland could disturb the equilibrium of the Premier League champions and have a negative impact on their style of play next season.

City have reached an agreement with Borussia Dortmund to sign the striker in July, but ex-England international Barnes feels that despite Haaland’s obvious firepower, the adaption between club and player won’t necessarily be a smooth one next term.

Speaking on William Hill’s end-of-season review panel alongside Robbie Savage, Barnes said: “With Haaland coming to City, will they have to play differently? If Haaland scores goals, other players will score less goals. At Liverpool you’ve got (Sadio) Mane scoring goals, (Mohamed) Salah scoring goals, but if you’ve got the midfield scoring goals they score 500 goals – it doesn’t work that way. If the midfield players at Liverpool scored goals, Mane and Salah would score less goals.

“When Haaland plays, he may score a lot of goals, but the others won’t score goals. It doesn’t mean that all of a sudden that because he plays, City are going to add on the goals they score and he’s going to score another 50. It doesn’t work that way.

“Secondly, the way they play may be different and the way they play now is such a comprehensive way of playing against teams. With Haaland they’ll play differently. I love Haaland, he’s a great player, he’ll give them that strength in the box, but in terms of their build-up play, their hold-up play and everything else, maybe they’ll lose something.

“I’m not saying this isn’t going to work, but it’s not automatically a given that because he’s signed that he’s going to score goals. But maybe we won’t see as much of (Kevin) De Bruyne, as much of (Riyad) Mahrez, we won’t see as much of Bernardo Silva, because maybe they’re going to be a bit more direct and putting balls in the box all the time. We don’t know.

“If you look at what Manchester City have done without a striker, scoring goals has not been their problem. So, yes, I’m sure he will score goals, but I don’t think Man City will score more goals necessarily, other players will score less. As for the way it affects the equilibrium of the way they play, we’ll have to wait and see.”

While Barnes remains unconvinced on Haaland’s impact at City, former Wales international Savage is adamant that Haaland will finish up as their top scorer next season while also giving the club a better chance than ever of winning the Champions League.

“His goals record for Dortmund is unquestionable,” Savage said. “And the amount of goals City get from inside the six-yard box when they get behind defenders and cut it back, how many goals have Sterling or Mahrez got? I just think when City don’t win games, they need a number nine… When they don’t win the Champions League, they need a number nine…

“27 goals in 26 games for Dortmund in Europe, he’ll add goals in Europe. He’ll be the focal point when they need one. I think they’ll have their best chance ever of winning the Champions League next year with Haaland in because they’ve got so many other dimensions to their game. To get him for his release clause is unbelievable business as well. For me, Haaland, with the chances City create, he’ll be the top goalscorer as well next season.”

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