London (AFP) – Pep Guardiola said Tuesday he could not comment on Manchester City’s move for Erling Haaland until “it’s completely done”, all but confirming that a deal for the prolific forward is imminent.
There were reports on Monday that the Norway international had already undergone a medical after agreeing personal terms with the Premier League champions.
The club have not officially commented but manager Guardiola gave a clue that the 21-year-old is on his way to the Etihad from Borussia Dortmund when speaking at a press conference on the eve of his side’s match against Wolves.
“Everybody knows the situation,” said Guardiola. “I shouldn’t talk because I don’t like to talk about the future or next season. Borussia Dortmund and Man City told me I’m not allowed to say anything until it’s completely done.”
It has been reported that Haaland is set to sign a five-year contract to move to the Etihad after City decided to trigger his release clause, reportedly 75 million euros (£64 million, $79 million).
Guardiola said: “I’d love to talk but they tell me don’t say anything until (after) the legal actions. We’ll have time to talk, not because I don’t want to.”
The signing of Haaland would end City’s long search for a specialist centre-forward to replace record goalscorer Sergio Aguero, who left last year.
The club tried but failed in a high-profile attempt to prise England captain Harry Kane away from Tottenham.
Haaland, whose father Alf-Inge played for City from 2000 to 2003, has been sensational since joining Dortmund from RB Salzburg in January 2020, scoring 85 goals in 88 appearances for the German side.
– ‘New levels’ –
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, whose team are involved in a tight title race with City this year, said he would expect the transfer to set new boundaries.
“I signed a new contract knowing City would not stop developing,” he told Sky Sports. “If Erling Haaland went there he would not weaken them, definitely not.
“I know a lot of people talk about money but this transfer will set new levels, let me say it like this.”
City, who are the Premier League’s top-scorers with 89 goals, have often played without a recognised striker this season.
Riyad Mahrez is their top scorer with 24 goals in all competitions, ahead of Raheem Sterling (16), Kevin De Bruyne (15) and Phil Foden (14).
City, who lead Liverpool by three points at the top of the Premier League table with just three games to go, are closing in on a fourth English league title in five years.
Guardiola, who will be without injured defenders John Stones, Kyle Walker and Ruben Dias for the rest of the season, is expecting a tough test at Molineux against Wolves after the Midlands club held Chelsea to a 2-2 draw at the weekend.
“Tomorrow is a final,” he said. “Wednesday gives us an opportunity to arrive to the last game against Aston Villa with it (the title) in our hands. It’s massively important.”
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