Pep Guardiola has been quizzed on Manchester City’s reported interest in Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, but is reluctant to be drawn on whether a big-money raid could be launched for the Norway international this summer.
Prolific exploits from the 20-year-old frontman have seen him enjoy a meteoric rise to prominence, with leading sides from across Europe now falling over themselves in an effort to get to the front of a transfer queue.
City would boast the financial muscle required to compete with anybody in a bidding war, and could soon be in the market for a new No.9 as Sergio Aguero’s contract runs down, but those at the Etihad Stadium are not about to show their hand.
What has been said?
Guardiola told reporters when asked if Haaland is a player in his thoughts: “He's a player from Dortmund. I don't like when people talk about our players. You understand I cannot answer this question.”
Is Guardiola a fan of Haaland?
While refusing to be drawn on supposed interest in Haaland, a player his City side are set to face in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, Guardiola can see why a talented youngster is generating so much hype.
He said: “The numbers speak for itself. He's one of the best strikers in the world right now at his age.
“I saw a few games, I didn't have much time but the highlights, the numbers in the Champions League and the league are impressive.
“I know the quality of this player, everybody knows.”Getty
Guardiola added on Dortmund as a collective, as he readies his Blues side for a heavyweight European showdown with the Bundesliga giants: “In two weeks I could answer better because I didn't see much.
“Dortmund, [Raphael] Guerreiro, [Axel] Witsel with experience, the quality of Jadon Sancho, [Gio] Reyna. There are many good players, the quality, they decide to invest in good young players paying good wages and good salaries for agents. They have a lot of quality.
“They went through against Sevilla who are one of the strongest knockout teams ever, winning three Europa Leagues in a row and then another one. Always Sevilla are so strong and they beat them.
“Dortmund is tough, so are Porto, Chelsea, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, PSG, all of them.
“Just to discover how they are as a team and especially try to do a good first game. After that a good second one, if we do good games we deserve to go through. If Dortmund is able to make a good two games they will go through. No more secret than that.
“Leeds are not the best team to face between the two legs, after we play the second one and try to go through. We now have two weeks to analyse and see a few games, how they are, how they do, their manager.”