Pep Guardiola has ‘no answer’ to reports linking Erling Haaland with Man City

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Pep Guardiola has refused to comment on reports claiming Manchester City are closing in on a deal for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.

It has been claimed City are poised to trigger the Norwegian’s £63 million (€75.8 million) release clause after agreeing personal terms, including weekly wages of £500,000 per week, with the 21-year-old’s representatives.

City have long been linked with Haaland, who is one of the game’s hottest properties, but manager Guardiola would not be drawn on the speculation.

Speaking at a press conference, the City boss said: “No answer to your question.”

Pushed further, he added: “No answer about these questions. I have another concern and business in my head right now (than) to think what will happen in this club next season.”

City have lacked an out-and-out centre-forward this season following the departure of record goalscorer Sergio Aguero at the end of the last campaign.

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They have impressed operating with a false nine this term but, after failing in a high-profile attempt to prise Harry Kane out of Tottenham last summer, it is thought they may again target a specialist striker.

Haaland’s release clause potentially makes the Norwegian a more attractive target this year.

Guardiola said: “We don’t know what is going to happen in the future. For many years I never talk about transfer windows, especially when we have incredible things to play for this season.”

City saw their hopes of a treble ended as they were beaten by Liverpool in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

Guardiola had made seven changes for the game as his players felt the effects of the previous Wednesday’s bruising Champions League game at Atletico Madrid and the Spaniard remains comfortable with his decision.

Asked if he had any regrets after coming in for some criticism, he said: “No. I understand the opinions of my fans. They have all my respect to give their opinions, but my selection was for many reasons.

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“Kevin (De Bruyne) wasn’t ready, Kyle (Walker) wasn’t ready, (Ilkay) Gundogan wasn’t ready. They (the players who played) were ready.”

Playmaker De Bruyne and midfielder Gundogan are back in contention for Wednesday’s Premier League clash with Brighton at the Etihad Stadium but full-back Walker is still out.

The England right-back suffered an ankle injury in the Atletico clash, and it is unclear when he will be able to return.

“For tomorrow he is not available,” said Guardiola. “We will see how he reacts with his ankle.”

Centre-back Ruben Dias, an unused substitute for the last two matches, is ready to return for the first time since March 1 but is not being rushed.

Guardiola said: “Ruben trained really good but he has been seven weeks off, not playing one minute. When you recover you need tempo. He’s intelligent, he’s a guy who knows his body. We are more than delighted he’s back.”

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