A pundit has explained why he would be ‘surprised and irritated’ if Erling Haaland joined Manchester City this summer, citing a problem involving manager Pep Guardiola.
City recently became the frontrunners to sign Haaland from Borussia Dortmund in a deal which could rise to £100million. Real Madrid have long been on the striker’s trail, although they now seem to be prioritising Kylian Mbappe.
However, an update on Monday put Haaland’s move to the Etihad into doubt. According to the Daily Star, it will actually cost City around £300m to land the Norwegian.
That includes his £63m exit clause, £33m-per-year wages, bonuses and massive agent fees. City have huge wealth at their disposal but could be put off by this astronomical sum.
Guardiola has been operating without a recognised striker this term, instead utilising Phil Foden or Jack Grealish in a false nine role. Foden has been particularly impressive there and found the net in Sunday’s FA Cup win over Southampton.
City are supposedly looking at Haaland to become Sergio Aguero’s successor up front. But former Germany international Markus Babbel thinks the 21-year-old should remain at Dortmund.
Erling Haaland verdict given
“This move would really surprise and irritate me. Guardiola doesn’t really like centre-forwards,” Babbel told Sky Germany (via Sport Witness).
“I would rather say that he should stay in Dortmund. He could develop better there because Haaland also has to play. Whether that would be the case with Guardiola, I don’t know.
“In the past, everyone played the centre-forward position there, but no trained striker. Even top strikers like [Sergio] Aguero or [Gabriel] Jesus didn’t play with regularity at City. I think the striker Guardiola wants has yet to be born.
“In addition, City play in an extremely dominant manner. Haaland still has to learn that, even in such a team that has little space, to play out his dynamism and find the ways to score his goals.”
Pep Guardiola reacts to City win
After the 4-1 victory at St Mary’s, Guardiola said: “We started well for the first 20 to 25 minutes, but for the last 15 of the first half we forgot to play.