Manchester City need a top number nine like Erling Haaland if they are to compete with the best teams in Europe, according to Shaun Wright-Phillips.
City and Sergio Aguero announced this week that the star striker will be leaving the club after 10 years when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Pep Guardiola’s team are among many of the continent’s leading sides who have been linked with a transfer pursuit of Borussia Dortmund sensation Haaland.
Aguero has only made five City starts in all competitions this season due to injuries, so they have often deployed a false nine rather than a recognised striker like the Argentina forward or Gabriel Jesus.
Wright-Phillips – who had two spells with City totalling nine seasons – has been impressed by how City have adapted but feels a focal point is still needed in the biggest matches.
“They have to look for a direct replacement,” Wright-Phillips told Stats Perform News.
“If you’re going to have big team like that without a so-called number nine, it would be strange to a lot of people in the world.
“You can play with a false nine against a lot of teams, but say you’re playing Real Madrid – Sergio Ramos, he’ll be happy not to have striker in front of him.
“Then he can see everything, so there’s certain teams in the world that know how to deal with that pretty easily.
“To have a number nine up there, it gives them a headache, something to think about. And they have to be on their A-game all the time as well.”
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Haaland is the striker who stands out as the best pick to Wright-Phillips, with Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku among the others forwards to have been linked with City.
The 20-year-old has scored 21 goals in as many Bundesliga games this season and tops the Champions League scoring charts with 10 from six outings.
“For me if you are talking about going for someone, I think I would say Haaland,” added Wright-Phillips.
“Not only obviously because of how well he’s doing but because of his age as well. They’ve got him for a good 10 years if they choose to keep him or if he does well.
“That would suit the City team better, in the respect that most of their players are under 27 or 28, apart from maybe Kevin De Bruyne.
“There would be nothing wrong with the Haaland decision.
“People say the wages and stuff like that – everyone can see in football what can happen, which is pretty much anything, so I don’t put any of that past them.
“It could be any one of those strikers [Kane, Lukaku, Haaland] – City are going to create chances and you have seen their goalscoring records, they’re going to take them the majority of the time.”
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