Pep Guardiola heaps praise on Erling Haaland and hints at City interest
The Guardian – Pep Guardiola has praised Erling Haaland with Manchester City’s manager saying it does not take an expert to appreciate how impressive the Borussia Dortmund striker is.
City host Dortmund in Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg hoping to reach the semi-finals for the first time under Guardiola. While Haaland is on City’s radar as a potential replacement for Sergio Agüero in the summer, the manager said last week that his expected price of more than £100m is not possible for the club.
Yet Guardiola was clear in his admiration for the Norwegian, who has 21 Bundesliga goals this season in an overall total of 34 strikes in 37 appearances, plus 10 in the Champions League.
“To score that number of goals at his age is not easy. He’s 20 years old and the numbers speak for themselves,” said Guardiola. “When that happens it’s because he can score with the right, the left, via counterattacks, in the box. He’s a fantastic striker, everyone knows it.”
Haaland is expected to depart Dortmund in the close season, with City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Barcelona among clubs who retain an interest in signing him.
Guardiola was asked if Haaland’s value will be at least £100m. “I don’t know, it’s a question for Dortmund, his agent [Mino Raiola], so I don’t know,” the City manager said. “I understand completely people ask about Haaland because of course he’s an exceptional striker but you understand it’s not appropriate for me to talk about a player from another club.
“The only thing I can say is that he is an exceptional striker. With his age, he is an exceptional striker. He’s a fantastic player – that’s all.” Guardiola dismissed the notion that City being unable to pay £100m or more for a player places the club at a disadvantage. “No, not at all,” he said.
“Not for the fact we have not spent for one player a lot of money, gives you a disadvantage. Football is a team game, everyone makes his contribution, the guy who doesn’t play makes his contribution, the backroom staff and everyone, so it’s not just about one player, it’s about absolutely everyone.”
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