Kevin De Bruyne has confessed he is looking forward to having a reliable striker at the top of Manchester City's side again as he prepares to link up with Erling Haaland.
City won the race for Haaland's signature before the Premier League season came to a close, pouncing on his bargain release clause to sign the 21-year-old, who ends his time at Borussia Dortmund with a total of 86 goals in just 89 games.
Haaland joins a City side who haven't struggled for goals but have needed contributions from all over the pitch to make up for the absence of a natural striker, and De Bruyne is looking forward to having such a bona-fide goal threat back in the team.
“Erling Haaland is a top striker," he told HLN. "His move should help us to grow as a team.
"Everybody expects a lot. They’ve always been looking for a number 9, but I think it’ll be good to have that striker that maybe scores 20-25 goals a season.
“Maybe [his arrival might help me too]. There have been years that I have more assists [than this season]. But my chance creation and other things have remained consistent. Numbers are a part of football but they never tell you the full story.”
As well as Haaland, City have also added River Plate starlet Julian Alvarez to their ranks, with the young Argentine expected to be part of Pep Guardiola's squad for the upcoming season rather than head out on loan.
De Bruyne, who is currently on international duty, also expanded on his recent comments about UEFA Nations League matches being 'glorified friendlies'.
Belgium get their campaign underway against the Netherlands on Friday before further matches against Poland (twice) and Wales later this month.
“After such a tough season - and a week without training or match - the body is completely in decompression," De Bruyne said.
Listen now to 90min's brand new podcast, Talking Transfers, with Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth. This week they discuss whether Sadio Mane will leave Liverpool for Bayern Munich, Manchester United's pursuit of Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, Newcastle's plans for Moussa Diaby and Sven Botman & Jorginho's future at Chelsea.
"To then play another four matches in ten days: that would be asking for trouble. It is a succession of few moments of rest. And the body just needs it.”
The midfielder added that he does not plan to retire from international duty until after Euro 2024 at the earliest, saying: “I will continue with the national team. I don't know how long. In any case, until the European Championship in 2024 - if bad things don't happen. We'll see how I feel. Quality trumps quantity for me.
"It is also difficult to find the perfect balance between the family and the life we lead. My wife understands that, the children occasionally. They sometimes regret that daddy cannot be there. Later they will understand.”