Erling Haaland is set to sign for Manchester City this summer.
David Ornstein sensationally revealed on Monday morning that Haaland moving to the Etihad Stadium was a ‘done deal’ and confirmation was expected as early as this week, according to sources in Germany.
It’s a deal that looks set to send shockwaves through the Premier League as the reigning champions finally get their hands on a long-term replacement for Sergio Aguero in the number nine position.
Haaland set for Man City
And it just so happens that Haaland is one of the hottest properties in all of world football with a staggering record of 85 goals in 88 games for Borussia Dortmund at just 21 years old.
As such, while there is still plenty to play for in the final weeks of the 2021/22 season, you could certainly forgive fans for having one eye on the 2022/23 campaign in light of the huge Haaland news.
In fact, you wouldn’t be alone in that conviction because we couldn’t help dusting off our crystal ball and having a go at imagining what English football’s biggest hitters will look like next season.
And with predicting the potential XIs of teams going into the transfer window generally being a fun exercise at the best of times, we thought that it would be rude not to jump on the Haaland hype train.
Potential ‘big six’ XIs
So, we’ve taken on the monumental task of predicting how the so-called ‘big six’ Premier League clubs will line up for the 2022/23 season once they’ve splashed their cash in the summer market.
Our projections are based on a combination of the moves that we think each club needs to make and what’s genuinely realistic within their budgets, so don’t expect to see anyone like Neymar popping up.
Naturally, however, even our best forecasts are subject to looking silly in just a few weeks’ time, so be sure to take everything with a pinch of salt and just enjoy the ride. Check out our XIs down below:
The talk on the town is that Youri Tielemans will be leaving Leicester City at the end of the season and Arsenal could do much, much worse than adding him to their midfield ranks if they finish in the top four.
But the Gunners’ most pressing issue is solving their lack of depth in the centre forward position and Gabriel Jesus has more than enough quality to end the club’s back luck with Premier League hand-me-downs.
Centre-backs will absolutely be the priority for Chelsea as they maraud into their new ownership with Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger looking almost certain to depart.
It seems inevitable that it will be second summer lucky in the hunt for Jules Koundé and the time is now for Chelsea to snap up Kalidou Koulibaly with Napoli’s reported asking price seeming to shrink year on year.
Let’s face it, what do Liverpool really need this summer? We’re talking about arguably the best team in the world chasing quadruple glory, so breaking into the starting XI is nigh on impossible.
Nevertheless, the one area that the Reds could upgrade is their midfield with Aurélien Tchouaméni proving a fantastic option, even if we’re inclined to think that Jurgen Klopp would – in reality – ease him into the line-up.
Similarly, it’s hard to see who City could possibly sign on top of Haaland that would walk straight into the starting XI, because frankly their first-choice defence is stellar and their midfield options are outrageous.
You can bet your bottom dollar that it will be all change at Old Trafford this summer, but we just so happen to think that Erik ten Hag’s priorities will be a new right-back, defensive midfielder and forward.
Rumours are rife that Denzel Dumfries would be available just one season into his Inter Milan move and Darwin Nunez could adjust to life in England out wide on the left during Cristiano Ronaldo‘s final year.
But by far and away the most pressing position that needs filling for United is the ‘CDM’ slot, so it’s absolutely worth paying over the odds for Declan Rice to plug a gap that’s caused them problems for years.
Antonio Conte will be hungry for funds from Daniel Levy this summer and the potential end result looks pretty terrifying, truth be told, with the back five strengthening in its two weakest positions.
Alessandro Bastoni would fit hand in glove as the left-sided centre-back having thrived under Conte at Inter, while Joakim Mæhle would be another superb Serie A coup as a more natural wing-back than, say, Adama Traore.
An exciting season ahead
So, what do you reckon?
While it’s easy to see Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal making some key changes to their starting line-ups between now and August, Liverpool and Manchester City look set to be very selective.
The simple fact of the matter when it comes to the Premier League’s top two sides is that they possess so much quality that it takes a signing of Haaland’s magnitude to even threaten their strongest XI.
Nevertheless, rest assured that there will be so much drama over the coming few months that we’ll need to tweak and adjust our forecasts along the way – but isn’t that the joy of the transfer window?
Nobody could possibly have predicted Ronaldo pulling on a United jersey again this time last year, but here we are.
Either way, though, it looks like we’re on course for an exciting transfer window that could change the face of the Premier League’s ‘big six’ sides with the monumental incoming of Haaland leading the way.