Pep Guardiola Confident For Man City Title Run-in
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Manchester City are ready to announce they have finally landed their big summer target Erling Haaland after agreeing terms with all parties. Personal terms have been agreed on a five-year basic £350,000-a-week contract and they have now agreed to trigger his £64million release clause with the striker’s current club Borussia Dortmund.
The Premier League leaders have been chasing the striking sensation, one of Europe’s hottest properties, for around 18 months. But City decided to wait for Haaland this summer after plans to sign Harry Kane hit the buffers last summer.
And Guardiola’s insistence that they could manage without a recognised striker has been partially vindicated this season with City in pole position to land the Premier League title. Adding the Norway international to the squad is expected by City’s bosses to take the club to the next level, namely, to challenge once again for the Champions League.
Haaland, who was born in Leeds, has scored 85 goals in 88 appearances and could slot in at the upper end of City’s wage structure with just Kevin de Bruyne ahead of him in earnings. His father Alf-Inge Haaland is also expected to net a multi-million-pound windfall from the deal as an advisor.
Barring any last minute hitches the move, likely to be jointly announced by Dortmund and City, will see the striker join up with the club before the Premier League champions elect tour the United States this July.
City are confident that they can balance the books with Fernandinho set to leave the club in the summer and with Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus contenders to move on following the arrival of Haaland. Both players are being closely tracked by Arsenal.
The pair are out of contract in 2023 but would still be likely to command a big fee. Any moves would be conditional on the Gunners securing Champions League football next season.
Fernandinho meanwhile says a final Premier League title with City would be the “sweetest” of the lot as he prepares to bring the curtain down on his Etihad career. The veteran midfielder, 37, is set to leave in the summer after nine seasons at City.
He said: “Every title is sweet. It’s going to be one more….with a little more sugar. We know the title is in our hands, it doesn’t matter what they do over there [at Anfield], we have to keep going through all the hard games.”
“The win against Newcastle was a great response after defeat in Madrid, especially for our fans and ourselves because when you lose a match like this the confidence can go a little bit down. It was not just the result, the performance overall was really good and we are really happy about that.”
City are less happy about the defensive injury crisis which has struck just at the wrong time with Fernandinho ending up playing centre back against Newcastle after Ruben Dias did not emerge after the break. Dias has joined John Stones and Kyle Walker in being ruled out for the season and with Nathan Ake also struggling with an ankle issue, it leaves just Aymeric Laporte as the only fully fit central defender. Fernandinho looks set to play a part in the defence with Rodri also able to play centre half.
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