Barcelona has been handed an unexpected boost in the race to land Borussia Dortmund’s prolific striker Erling Haaland this summer by former coach Pep Guardiola.
Manchester City is one of Barca’s biggest rivals for Haaland’s signature, but manager Guardiola told a press conference on Friday that the Citizens may not buy a striker in the summer transfer window
“With these prices we will not buy any striker,” he said. “It’s impossible. We will not afford it. All the clubs struggle. We are not an exception. I don’t know what is going to happen. Today, there is more chance we will not buy a striker next season.”
The Premier League leaders had been expected to sign a forward to replace the outgoing Sergio Aguero. The club announced earlier this week that the Argentine will leave when his contract expires at the end of the season.
The news will be a boost to Barcelona given Manchester City is in a far stronger financial position to the Catalan giants. Barca announced debts of over $1.5 billion in January of this year.
Guardiola’s comments suggest Manchester City may join Bayern Munich in staying out of the hunt for Haaland. Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has said his team will not pursue a deal for the Norwegian because they already have the “world’s best” in Robert Lewandowski, as reported by Goal.
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Barcelona Meet Haaland Agent
Barcelona president Joan Laporta met with Haaland’s agent, Mino Raiola, on Thursday to discuss a possible transfer, as reported by Marca. Laporta made it clear he wants the striker and that the club can afford to do a deal despite the financial issues.
Yet it will not be an easy transfer to complete. Raiola also visited Real Madrid on Thursday to talk about the striker and is due to meet Premier League clubs in the coming days, according to Mundo Deportivo.
The report suggests Raiola will meet with City, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool to talk Haaland. Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was also asked about the striker on Friday but was in no mood to talk transfers.
“It’s not fair to talk about Erling as Man Utd manager. He will make his own mind up,” he told reporters at a news conference. “Who we are interested, I don’t want to comment. Now there are lot of rumours… Hopefully we can sit here with a player no one has written about.”
Haaland Wants La Liga Move?
Yet it seems that Haaland will have his pick of top clubs this summer if he decides he does want a change of scenery. Indeed, Catalunya Radio has reported that Haaland “only wants Real Madrid or Barcelona.”
The report also states that Laporta has offered to make the striker the club’s second-highest-paid player, behind captain Lionel Messi, if he does decide to move to the Camp Nou.
However, Laporta would prefer to sign Haaland in 2022 rather than this summer for several reasons. The president needs time to raise funds to secure the transfer and is also aware that Haaland has a release clause of just €75 million ($88m) in his contract that comes into effect next year.