Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has ruled his side out of the race for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland as a replacement for Sergio Aguero this summer.
Haaland, 20, has emerged as the most sought after player in world football, with sources having told ESPN that Dortmund, who face City in the Champions League quarterfinal first leg on Tuesday, are prepared to allow the Norway international to leave for €180 million this summer — 18 months after signing him for an initial €20m.
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Real Madrid and Barcelona spoke to Haaland’s representative and father in Spain on Thursday, with the player also a target for Manchester United and Chelsea.
But despite the announcement this week that Argentina forward Aguero will leave the Etihad this summer at the end of his contract, City manager Guardiola said the club will not be able to afford Dortmund’s Haaland valuation if he becomes available this summer.
“With these prices, we are not going to buy any striker,” Guardiola said at a press conference on 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.”
City travel to Leicester on Saturday with Aguero set to be in the squad as he prepares to wind down his career at the Etihad, 10 years after arriving from Atletico Madrid.
He will leave as the top scoring non-Englishman in Premier League history and Guardiola said Aguero is irreplaceable.
“We know how important he is in the present and past, so these decisions are never easy,” Guardiola said. “It is impossible to replace what he means in for this club.”