It was bang on 25 minutes after Tuesday’s announcement when a black Nissan crawled out of Manchester City’s training ground.
Glancing at busy television crews broadcasting on the sun-kissed forecourt, the driver seemed more than content. Gazing at the sky, tapping the steering wheel.
Pep Guardiola will have allowed himself a few moments of celebration as City finally told the world that Erling Haaland was theirs for £51million.
Pep Guardiola (left) could finally reveal his glee at confirming the signing of Erling Haaland
The Catalan had earlier been close to jumping out of his chair when asked about Haaland during City’s news conference, clearly wanting to enthuse about the new striker but without the necessary clearance to do so given Dortmund had to declare it on the stock exchange first.
There will be time for all that, time to explain to some where exactly a pure goal machine fits into a City team that creates dozens of opportunities every week. Rocket science that is not.
He’ll probably be able to play alongside Kevin De Bruyne, you know. And De Bruyne offered more than a nod to Haaland here. Not the 24-minute hat-trick, more the gesture when completing said feat.
Kevin De Bruyne paid tribute to Haaland by performing his signature celebration having scored four goals in City’s 5-1 win over Wolves on Wednesday
Haaland celebrates by performing the meditation pose after scoring for Borussia Dortmund
De Bruyne sauntered off towards the Norway flags in City’s away end at Molineux, pretending to meditate just as next year’s No 9 does upon testing the durability of any given net.
What all this means for the man possessing the actual No 9 shirt, Gabriel Jesus, these feel like his final weeks at the club.
The Brazilian’s agent confirmed on Wednesday that they had spoken to Arsenal, adding that six others are also keen.
Mikel Arteta was coy when pressed on the matter but he is looking for a new striker and Jesus wants to prove himself as a lead man rather part of a choir. It fits.
Jesus often makes City a rounded unit, and has scored big goals, but the nature of a wealthy and evolving club desperate to win the lot is an ever-changing squad. So they have chosen the continent’s most fearsome striker to replace Sergio Aguero.
Haaland’s summer arrival could spell the end for Gabriel Jesus’ time at Manchester City
Haaland was not always known as Erling around Manchester, though. Shortly after his birth in 2000, the local newspaper asked father Alfie — then a City player — the name of his newborn.
Alfie replied that the boy was called Mr X until they settled on a name. The reporter on the other end of the phone heard ‘Mr Eggs’ instead and that went to print.
That story was gleefully retold on Wednesday, before City went to Wolves with an X on their backs and left without egg on face in the title race.