Pep Guardiola ‘not key factor’ in Erling Haaland’s Man City move as explanation offered

Aguero welcomes Haaland to Man City

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Norwegian reporter Jan Age Fjortoft believes that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was not one of the main factors behind Erling Haaland’s impending move to the club. The Premier League champions completed the signing of Haaland, 21, after activating a £51million release clause in his contract.

The Borussia Dortmund striker was in no shortage of suitors, with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona among many clubs touted for his services. The former Red Bull Salzburg forward scored 85 goals in 88 games with Dortmund ahead of his farewell game against Hertha Berlin.

With many factors at play for Haaland, he decided on City but one of the main reasons does not appear to be manager Guardiola.

Fjortoft told Sky Sports: “In general the way they [Haaland’s team] work, the coach is not the biggest factor. For example when they came to Salzburg, Marco Rose left them straight away to Gladbach so you can not do it all on the coach.

“But I guess for any football player to go to one of the biggest coaches in the world, myself and a lot of others would have loved to have played for the biggest coaches because you know they can develop you as a player, but I don’t think it was a main factor, but that is just my opinion.

“It was nothing to do with his dad [Alfie Haaland] playing for Manchester City, it was down to the fact that it suited the development of the player. The fact that now Pep Guardiola seems to want to need a number nine, and wants to develop Manchester City through that position.

“There had been three clubs at the end that were very close, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. But there was always that feeling that Manchester City were ahead, because there was a lot of things put through to their analysers. What team Haaland has been very good at, when they went to Dortmund instead of going to Juventus or Manchester United at that time, they always looked for the best development for the player.

“Manchester City then seemed in the last few weeks as the most likely place to go.”

Haaland bids farewell to Dortmund in their game with Hertha Berlin, which also sees several players and key figures around the club say their goodbyes. Along with Haaland, Marcel Schmelzer, Axel Witsel, Roman Burki, Dan-Axel Zagadou and Marwin Hitz will leave the club this summer.

Behind the scenes, meanwhile, sporting director Michael Zorc is also leaving the club at the end of the season. Zorc has been at Dortmund since 1978, going from record scorer to a key man at the heart of the club’s transfer dealings.

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