Soccer

Man City boss Pep Guardiola all but confirms Erling Haaland transfer – ‘I’d love to talk’

Pep Guardiola Confident For Man City Title Run-in

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has virtually confirmed that a transfer for Erling Haaland is on the brink of completion, but stayed quiet under orders from Borussia Dortmund. The Norwegian striker is set to formalise his move to the Etihad this week after completing a medical on Monday. 

City are on the verge of locking down one of Europe’s most fearsome frontmen, and an announcement is expected imminently as the formalities of the deal are thrashed out. Guardiola will have known that the questions were coming when he faced the media on Tuesday, but he admitted that he was bound by strict orders from the two clubs.

“Everybody knows the situation,” he admitted. “I shouldn’t talk because I don’t like to talk about the future or next season. Dortmund and Man City told me I’m not allowed to say anything until it’s completely done. We’ll have time to talk.

“I’d love to talk, they tell me don’t say anything until the legal actions [are done]. We’ll have time to talk, not because I don’t want.”

Europe’s top clubs have spent months courting Haaland in the knowledge that a £64million release clause can be activated this summer. Other hefty financial aspects of the deal will bump up the final bill, ruling out many interested parties, and in the end Real Madrid posed the sternest test to Guardiola’s pursuit of the Dortmund man. 

A similar wage package to Kevin De Bruyne, around £375,000-a-week, is supposedly in the pipeline on top of significant agent fees as part of the deal. Having been without a recognised senior striker since Sergio Aguero’s departure last year, City’s attacking landscape is set to change dramatically with Haaland’s arrival. 

Since joining Dortmund two-and-a-half years ago, the 6ft 4in marksman has bagged 85 goals in 88 matches, including 28 in all competitions this season. Perhaps most importantly for City, he has scored at a rate of more than one goal per game in European competition, and should continue to improve with more experience under his belt. 

A five-year deal, as has been reported, would tie Haaland down in Manchester until his mid-twenties. There has also been talk of Guardiola extending his stay with the club, which could be even more likely with the latest blockbuster transfer close to completion. Winning the Premier League title remains the task at hand, however, and the City boss remains as focused as ever. 

“Both teams [City and Liverpool] have done another impressive season,” he added. “We know exactly what we have to do, nine points, we will try to be there. Tomorrow [against Wolves] is a final for us, Wednesday gives us an opportunity to arrive in the last game here with the title in our hands. It’s massively important.

“Hopefully we recover well from this last week and we can do a good game. This is the most important thing in our heads.”

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