Erling Haaland: Pep Guardiola hints at change in Manchester City transfer stance ahead of Dortmund clash

Pep Guardiola refused to rule out the possibility that Manchester City will break their transfer record and spend more than £100m on a single player, amid intense speculation over the future of Erling Haaland.

City are in the market for a striker after the announcement that Sergio Aguero will bring his decade-long stay at the Etihad to an end when his contract expires this summer.

Haaland, who faces City in the Champions League quarter-finals with Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night, is among the leading candidates to replace Aguero but Dortmund are likely to command a fee in the region of €150m (£127m).

City’s record signing is Ruben Dias, who joined in a £62m deal from Benfica in September, though the Portuguese centre-half is one of 10 players who have joined City for fees greater than £50m since the summer of 2015.

Guardiola last week described the prospect of another record signing arriving this summer as “impossible”, though appeared to soften that stance on Monday by claiming that a £100m signing is a possibility further down the line.

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“So far the club has decided not to spend not close to £100m for a player, or more than £100m on a player,” he said. “Maybe in the future it is going to happen if they decide it is necessary to improve the team for the next five, ten years, for many reasons.

“But so far the club, the organisation, the CEO, the sporting director decided not to do it and that’s why they didn’t do it. But maybe in the future – I don’t know.”

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Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola and his father, the former City midfielder Alf-Inge, held talks with representatives of Barcelona and Real Madrid last week. Manchester United and Chelsea are also expected to provide City with competition for the 20-year-old.

Stopping Haaland in the first leg of City’s Champions League quarter-final against Dortmund at the Etihad on Tuesday night is currently a more pressing concern for Guardiola, who could not deny Haaland’s quality on the eve of their meeting.

“To score that number of goals at his age is not easy to find in the past, honestly. He’s 20 years old and the numbers speak for themselves,” the City manager said.

“When that happens it’s because he can score with the right, the left, the counter attacks, in the box. When you dominate and counter attacks and the headers in the box. He’s a fantastic striker, everyone knows it.

“A blind guy would realise he’s a good striker, it’s not necessary to be a manager to realise it.”

On the prospect of signing Haaland, Guardiola said: “I don’t know, it’s a question for Dortmund, his agent, so I don’t know.

“I understand completely people ask the day before and this week of 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.”

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