Pep Guardiola Rules Out Erling Haaland as Sergio Aguero Replacement

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With Sergio Aguero moving on from Manchester City at the end of the season, speculation mounts over what the Etihad will do to replace him. Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland has been heavily linked with a move to City, among other clubs, a long list that includes Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

City manager Pep Guardiola, in his prematch news conference ahead of the Leicester City clash this weekend, ruled out a move for the Norwegian scoring sensation.

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Guardiola claimed, with a straight face that City can’t afford him.

“With these prices, we are not going to buy any striker,” Guardiola said Friday.

“It is impossible, we cannot afford it. All the clubs struggle financially and we are not an exception. We have Gabriel [Jesus], Ferran [Torres], a lot of players in the academy, and we sometimes play with a false nine. There are a lot of big chances that we are not going to sign a new striker for next season.

“We have enough players in the first team right now and interesting players in the Academy. It is a big challenge, for the situation in the world, because of the economic problems in world football, we are not going to sign any striker for next season.”

On one hand, Guardiola is saying all the right things, as it never serves a manager well to talk up transfer targets in the media. All that publicity does is drive up the asking price for all clubs who are interested. On the other hand, the idea that City are balling on a budget is ludicrous.

The concept of the pandemic severely hurting their finances isn’t very believable at all. City are one of just two clubs, Paris Saint-Germain being the other, who compete on a separate financial playing field, far above everyone else.

When your ownership is literally the ruling class of a wealthy petrolstate, well, your pockets are always deep.

Still, Guardiola is completely in the right in not fanning the flames of Haaland transfer window frenzy. There is plenty of hype going on in this regard already, as Haaland’s reps have already met with club brass at Real Madrid and Barcelona.

That’s according to multiple reports, which included the words of Spanish transfer expert Guillem Balague.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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