Even as Erling Haaland is heavily linked to a move to Manchester City, Pep Guardiola on Monday heaped rich praise on the Borussia Dortmund striker, saying he is the epitome of an all-rounder goal-scorer. Guardiola said it's hard to score as many goals as Halaand has as a 20-year-old and that the Norwegian star is setting unprecedented standards.
Pep Guardiola made it clear that he is a big fan of Erling Haaland, who is tipped to replace Sergio Aguero at the Etihad. Aguero will leave Manchester City when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Haaland will be the biggest threat to City when Borussia Dortmund arrives at Etihad Stadium for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday, having scored a competition-high 10 goals this season.
He is also the youngest player to reach 20 goals in the Champions League - at 20 years, 231 days - and he got to that milestone in just 14 games, also a record.
"At that age, to score this amount of goals is not easy to find in the past, honestly," Guardiola said.
"The numbers, they speak for themselves. When that happens, it's because he can score right, left, on the counterattack, in the box, when you dominate, when you make counterattacks, in the headers. He is a fantastic striker. Everybody knows it. A blind guy realizes he is a good striker. It's not necessary to be a manager to realize (that) about him."
Will City spend big on one player?
Guardiola had said last week that City might not even go for a replacement for Aguero as they can't afford a top-class striker. The Manchester City manager refused to discuss a potential move for Haaland, who according to British media, could demand a fee of $177 million.
Guardiola stressed that spending big money on one player doesn't guarantee success but hinted that City might change their approach of not spending big on ready-made superstars.
"It's not that spending on one player a lot of money gives you an advantage to win," he said.
"Football is a team game. Everyone makes his contribution - the guys who don't play, the backroom staff, everyone. This competition will not be won by one player, it is for absolutely everyone," Guardiola added.
"So far, the club has decided to spend not close to 100 million (pounds) for a player. Maybe in the future, it is going to happen if the club decides it is necessary to improve the team for the next 5-10 years, for many reasons. But so far, the club, the organization, the CEO, the sporting director, decides, 'Don't do it.'" (With inputs from AP).