Pep Guardiola, Manchester City’s manager, has responded to speculation linking Erling Haaland with a move to Real Madrid.
Amid reports suggesting Haaland’s discontent with life in Manchester, Guardiola challenges Real Madrid to make an offer if they are truly interested.
Guardiola remains confident that such attempts to unsettle the prolific striker will not succeed.
Guardiola said: “For one report, for one journalist or one Twitter account, one Instagram account, do you think they are going to change something that is going to happen? It’s not going to happen.
“It’s going to happen when Erling decides to extend the contract or not, when the club decides to extend a contract or not, or when we have potential offers to him or not.
“If someone wants Erling, it’s easy. Call Man City and ask. It’s what we do when we want to sign someone. It’s not more complicated than that.”
If Guardiola has his way, the answer to any enquiry would be a firm no.
Guardiola stated: “What do you think? That we don’t want Erling to stay here for one decade?
“We want him – for a long, long time at this club. For a long time. We are in love with him, we want him.”
Yet Guardiola admits he does not know what the future will bring.
He said: “I don’t have info. He arrived last season and the impact was incredible. The beginning of this season, the numbers were really good too. He’s had two months injured.
“What happens in the future? Honestly, I don’t know. We are happy to have him, hopefully he’s happy to be with us. That is what we know. And the rest? I don’t know.”
Guardiola insists he ignores transfer rumours but concedes having players linked with big clubs can be flattering.
He said: “It’s normal that Real Madrid want the best players, and Barcelona want the best players, or (clubs) in Italy, or PSG want the best players.
“We want the best players and United want the best players, and Liverpool and Arsenal and everyone. It’s normal, it’s not a surprise.
“A link like that is an honour for us. It means that we did a good job, and especially Erling. In his case he made an incredible job.
“Is it true? I don’t know. It’s just to make a little bit of noise. It’s fine. Of course I ignore it. It doesn’t bother me at all.
“As long as the players are focused on what they have to do, the rest is not important.”
Haaland, who scored an impressive 52 goals in his first season at the Etihad Stadium, has been sidelined with a foot injury since December after netting 19 goals this term.
While Madrid-leaning media may seek to sway Haaland’s decision, Guardiola remains steadfast in his belief that any interested club should openly express their intentions.
As Haaland’s future remains uncertain, Guardiola’s response underscores Manchester City’s determination to retain their prized asset.
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