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Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City ‘cannot afford’ to sign striker like £154m man Erling Haaland

Pep Guardiola insists Manchester City ‘cannot afford’ to sign a striker like £154m man Erling Haaland if clubs demand huge fees as City boss says Premier League leaders will not pay over the odds to replace Sergio Aguero

Pep Guardiola insisted that Manchester City would not pay over the odds to sign Sergio Aguero’s replacement.

The manager confirmed City are searching for a new striker, and it is understood Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland remains their top target. But Guardiola maintained City would not be held to ransom after Haaland’s agent, Mino Raiola, landed in Spain for talks with Barcelona and Real Madrid. ‘I want to be clear,’ Guardiola said. ‘Maybe we are going to find a new player to replace Sergio.

‘When the club say we can do it then OK, we will try. If they say we can’t, then we are not going to.

Erling Haaland has been heavily linked with several of Europe’s top clubs, including Man City

Sergio Aguero will leave the Etihad this summer as the club's all-time top goalscorer

Sergio Aguero will leave the Etihad this summer as the club’s all-time top goalscorer

‘With the numbers being demanded (at the moment), it’s not going to happen. We cannot afford it. All the clubs struggle financially and we are not an exception. Maybe we are going to buy, maybe not.’

Guardiola claimed he has ‘never complained’ about City’s transfer business and added he would understand if no striker arrives, given the financial complications of the pandemic.

‘In the moment, honestly, it’s not going to happen. But you know the market,’ he said.

Pep Guardiola has insisted City won't be held to ransom by clubs in their search for a striker

Pep Guardiola has insisted City won’t be held to ransom by clubs in their search for a striker

‘I am not going to talk about any names of anyone at another club. It would not be polite to Dortmund or Haaland.

‘To talk about another player when we have two important months ahead? If I was a player who hears my manager speaking about other players, I would say, “What the f*** are you doing?” I have two months and these players here deserve respect. We are here to do what we have to do right now.’

That starts at Leicester as Guardiola’s side, 14 points clear at the Premier League summit, look to wrap up the title.

Liam Delap could be given a chance to shine in City's first team next season in place of Aguero

Liam Delap could be given a chance to shine in City’s first team next season in place of Aguero

Aguero has reacted well since learning his contract would not be renewed. ‘I want to have a good relationship with Sergio and I was honest with what we decided — the best for the club, simple,’ said Guardiola.

Guardiola has included teenager Liam Delap in his first-team group for the majority of the season and spoke glowingly of City’s academy prospects.

‘We had Gabriel (Jesus), Ferran (Torres), the academy, we play many times with a false nine,’ he added.

‘Liam is training with us this season. Like with Brahim (Diaz) and Phil (Foden). Liam, Felix Nmecha, Cole Palmer, James McAtee, Luke Mbete – many players are training well with us.

‘We’re in touch with Enzo (Maresca, Under-23 manager) all the time, talking about how they develop. Next season Liam will be with us, training every day.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk