Erling Haaland was unveiled as a Manchester City player on Monday but there was no sign of what number he will wear amid transfer speculation surrounding Gabriel Jesus
Manchester City have finally announced the signing of Erling Haaland – and dropped a clear hint Gabriel Jesus will be departing the club this summer after five-and-a-half years at the Etihad in the process.
Jesus, 25, is likely to leave for pastures new after Erling Haaland completed his £51million transfer to City on Monday, knocking the Brazilian forward down the pecking order. Arsenal have made him a priority target while La Liga rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have been offered his services, according to reports in Spain.
Jesus has worn the No. 9 shirt at City for the last three seasons and Haaland will be eyeing up the jersey, which is typically reserved for a big-name, out-and-out striker. The Norwegian, 21, was unveiled as a Sky Blue player on Monday but there was no sign of his squad number in any of the footage or pictures released by the club.
One option for Haaland is to take the No. 15 shirt as this was the strip donned by his father, Alf-Inge, during his stint with City in the early noughties, when he made 47 appearances for the club. This number is available in the Etihad Stadium dressing room but there would likely have been plenty of fanfare and an official announcement if the prolific striker was going to follow in his dad’s footsteps.
Therefore, it appears as though Haaland is biding his time and waiting for the No. 9 shirt to become available. He has already done this for club and country before; he wore No. 17 for his first half-season at Dortmund before taking No. 9 ahead of the 2020/21 season, while he recently ‘upgraded’ from No. 23 to No. 9 in the Norway set-up.
The latter change caused a bit of a stir as former Crystal Palace striker Alexander Sorloth had been the long-time occupant of the shirt. However, Arsenal playmaker Martin Odegaard, who captains the Scandinavian nation, insisted it was no big deal.
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“I have not realised that it has been a big deal,” Odegaard told reporters, per Norwegian broadcaster TV2. “Erling has the nine and that’s it, really. I do not think it has been a problem for anyone.”
Meanwhile, Norway manager Stale Solbakken said that “huge desire and commercial drive” was the reason for Haaland’s change of number. City will also be motivated by the potential to make vast sums from shirt sales as they wait to confirm which number their new talismanic forward will take. As for Jesus, it appears as though he is edging ever closer to leaving the club.