Opinion: Manchester City must unleash the 'new Haaland' in last Premier League game of the season
It’ll be an emotional day at the Etihad Stadium for Manchester City on Sunday as a club legend plays his last Premier League game in sky blue.
Sergio Aguero will leave City when his contract expires at the end of the season as both player and club look to the future.
The Argentina international, who signed from Atletico Madrid in 2011, has scored a club record 258 goals in 388 appearances for the Citizens.
In addition, he is the highest-scoring overseas player in Premier League history.
Aguero’s efforts have helped City won five Premier League titles, one FA Cup and five League Cups over his 10-year stay.
And the 32-year-old could well bring down the curtain on his City career with the one trophy that has eluded them so far, the Champions League.
City have been linked with Tottenham’s Harry Kane, and perhaps he could well join the club in the summer.
But for a symbolic changing of the guard this Sunday, Guardiola should look to give Liam Delap game time, either alongside Aguero or as his substitute.
Delap has been absolutely sensational for the Under-23s this season, registering a gargantuan 24 goals and five assists from just 20 Premier League 2 fixtures.
The 18-year-old also has four goal contributions from two EFL Trophy games, two in two in the FA Youth Cup, and netted in his one League Cup game this season.
According to a Goal.com feature article from September last year, Delap has impressed Pep Guardiola with his physicality and goalscoring ability.
“Standing at just over six feet tall, Delap has been singled out for his strength and power at youth level, with it regularly allowing him to bully opposition defenders,” they wrote.
“He also possesses an eye-catching turn of speed as well as being a fantastic finisher when he gets a sight of goal, with Pep Guardiola just the latest to become a fan of the teenager.
“Delap began training with City’s first-team squad midway through the summer to help fill out the numbers, but he has already been fast-tracked into Guardiola’s planning for the new campaign after impressing the Catalan and his staff.”
Goal.com even compared him to Erling Braut Haaland, and a number of City fans have also made the same observation over the past few months:
Håland has not even finished Hålanding and we’ve got a new Håland in our academy in Delap that’s crazy
— Joosep (@js10mcfc) September 8, 2020
What a finish. Foden is controlling the game at the age of 20. Delap is the new haaland.
— Alf ツ (@Alvinohhh) September 24, 2020
I hope we don’t buy a new striker
Even if it means losing out on the likes of Haaland
We should give Liam Delap a run in the first team
— 🇵🇸 (@omarismail854) March 15, 2021
Confirmed: Delap is the new Haaland 🤩
— Totti (@xmcfctotti) March 15, 2021
So slept on. New batch also insane, keep eye out for Delap. Genuine Haaland regen
— ُْ (@arusio3) March 31, 2021
Delap is a Haaland copy – just signed Kakty along with a few other “the new Messi” (there’s a few of them about) promising future 👍🏼
— laporteswand (@laporteswand) April 23, 2021
Admittedly, it’s too soon for Delap to step into the City first team and replace Aguero right away – chances are he’ll either get minutes here and there, or head out on loan.
But on Sunday, in the Premier League finale against Everton at the Etihad, Guardiola really ought to give Delap some game time and give fans a glimpse of the future.
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