Erling Haaland would provide "long-term value" for Manchester City even if the club have to splash the cash to sign him as a replacement for Sergio Aguero, says Richard Dunne.
City and Aguero confirmed on Monday that the Argentina striker will be leaving when his contract expires at the end of the season.
A glittering 10-year stint at City after signing from Atletico Madrid has seen him become the club's record goalscorer with 257 strikes to his name.
City were already being linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Haaland before the Aguero announcement.
Haaland has been prolific since signing for Dortmund in January 2020 and reportedly has a €180million asking price with all of Europe's top clubs likely to pursue him in the transfer market.
Even though Haaland would be an expensive addition, Dunne – who was a City stalwart between 2000 and 2009 - thinks it is a move worth making.
"If you are looking for a number nine, someone who is going to get you goals and is going to be long-term value for money, I think Haaland is the one," Dunne said to Stats Perform News.
"He is still very young, he is obviously proven in his first club [Salzburg], and he has moved on to Dortmund.
"He has been amazing and has scored goals in the Champions League. He looks like a good bet in terms of who is going to be able to do it long term.
"He's 21 this year, he's got plenty of years ahead of him. For me he seems the most exciting [potential Aguero replacement].
"It would be great to see him in the Premier League. You can see him fitting into that Man City team where his job is basically stand in the middle of the box and score goals.
"City create so many chances and hopefully he'll be able to get the opportunity to score a handful."
Dunne believes the upcoming Champions League quarter-final tie between Dortmund and City gives Haaland an opportunity to make a statement to Pep Guardiola, even though the Premier League side will already know everything about him.
He continued: "It is not so much an audition - Man City, there's a documentary on their scouting network and how they go about their things.
"It's never about one game, they're going to know everything about Haaland if he signs. Same on any other striker.
"But the opportunity to go and prove yourself, and show your potential new club, potential new manager what you can do, I'm sure for Haaland he'll feel like it's a great stage for him to go make a statement.
"It's great that he scores goals in the Champions League, he's done it. I think the next objective is to score goals against big teams in later rounds of the Champions League.
"This is a huge opportunity for him, and I'm sure Man City will have done their homework. They'll be praying to god that it's one of those nights that he doesn't have a good one and they can keep him quiet."
If City do not go down the route of a big-name signing, Dunne believes they are well prepared based on this season to get results without an established number nine, even if that is not an ideal scenario.
He expects to see enhanced roles for Gabriel Jesus and youngster Liam Delap in the future.
"I think Manchester City have sort of come up with a system that works for them without Aguero," said Dunne.
"If Aguero was fit and available all the time, I'm sure he would have played, and Guardiola would have liked to have that number nine in the team.
"So I'd imagine, he will probably look for a centre-forward. Someone so they have options, they can change things around.
"Gabriel Jesus is still there. He's obviously going to take a bit more responsibility. In the youth team they have Liam Delap who is starting to break through. They have options within the club.
"But whether they go and spend huge amounts of money on Haaland, or someone like that, I don't know.
"They tend to be really good with their transfer business and a lot of stuff has been done under the radar and then they produce a star from nowhere.
"I think they'll be happy enough with what's in the squad, add Ferran Torres to that as well, they've got enough."
City are 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League and are still in with a chance of winning the quadruple in Aguero's final season.