‘Good words’ - the role Erling Haaland played in Man City’s bargain summer transfer

Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji has revealed that Erling Haaland played an unexpected advisory role in his late move to the Etihad this summer.

Manchester City defender Manuel Akanji has revealed that Erling Haaland played an unexpected advisory role in his late move to the Etihad this summer.

The pair both arrived in England from Borussia Dortmund during the transfer window, with Akanji joining Pep Guardiola’s side on deadline day. Since then, both he and Haaland have made positive impacts at opposite ends of the pitch. Akanji has helped City to three clean sheets in his first five outings, while his Norwegian colleague has hit 20 goals in 13 matches across all competitions already this season.

And now the 27-year-old centre-back has opened up on the communication that he had with Haaland in the period leading up to his £15 million switch to the Premier League champions - and hinted that the forward may have played a small role in convincing City chiefs that he was the right man to bring in.

Akanji told the media: “Erling texted me. Then my agents talked with the club. Erling said that they had asked him about me. I think they had already made their plans but just wanted some more information so asked Erling. I don’t know what he said – hopefully just good words!”

Guardiola himself has also spoken of how fortunate he believes City were to bring in a player of Akanji’s quality, especially given the defender’s adaptability and tactical intelligence.

Speaking recently, he said: “I said for this season we need a striker and a central defender. We were lucky to get him. He’s a person who is at home with the family, studying mathematics and this kind of thing.

“We are very pleased with him. He had a chance to play right-back in this position and it’s so important we have another weapon at set pieces, with long balls, how aggressive he is with the ball - he’s the whole package. I didn’t know him but you realise immediately, I only had to tell him once and he knows it, the movement defensively at set pieces. He did it perfectly. It’s a gift for a manager, a gift.”