Inside Man City's push for Sh15 billion Erling Haaland transfer
FOOTBALL By Mirror | March 1st 2021
Pep Guardiola's toxic relationship with super-agent Mino Raiola will not stop Manchester City from joining the £100million race with rivals Manchester United to sign Erling Haaland.
City have made signing a goalscorer a top priority this summer – and also believe they remain frontrunners to seal a deal for Lionel Messi should the Argentine follow up his threat to quit Barcelona.
Haaland, 20, looks set to be sold at a premium price by Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season.
A buy-out clause in his contract is set to kick-in in 2022, but they can get much more now.
But the Norwegian is represented by Raiola – the 53-year-old who fell out spectacularly with Guardiola over the City manager's treatment of Zlatan Ibrahimovic when he was in charge of Barcelona.
That will have no impact on the Premier League leaders' summer plans, with former United striker Romelu Lukaku another Raiola client who is on a wish-list that is understood to include up to five alternative targets.
A senior Etihad source said: “There have been dealings with Mino Raiola in the past and if he represents a player we are interested in, it won't be an issue.
“An example of how these things work happened a few years ago when there was an exchange of views between Pep and Yaya Toure's agent (Dimitri Seluk).
“That didn't prevent Yaya from signing a new contract to stay with the club.
“Personal issues don't dictate what is best for the club.”
Guardiola has built a quadruple challenge without having a recognised striker for much of the season.
Sergio Aguero is fit again after an eight-month fight to recover from a knee ligament injury was compounded by contracting the coronavirus.
The Argentine is out of contract in the summer – and Sunday Mirror Sport understand that City want the 32-year-old to prove he is suffering no long-term problems before talking to him about a new deal at the end of the season.
Guardiola complained about his team's lack of a ruthless goalscorer after Aguero's cameo role in the 2-0 Champions League win over Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday night.
Haaland – son of former City midfielder Alf Inge - fits the bill perfectly.
But Guardiola and Raiola became embroiled in a war of words after the agent accused the Catalan of treating Ibrahimovic “like a dog” during the Swede's ill-fated two-year spell at the Nou Camp.
The City boss responded by questioning why Raiola would offer him the chance to sign Paul Pogba in the winter of 2017, just over a year after taking the Frenchman back to Old Trafford in an £89million deal with Juventus.
City chiefs do have previous when it comes to working with the man who also has stellar names like Matthijs de Ligt and Marco Verratti in his stable of players.
Raiola took Mario Balotelli to City when the Italian striker arrived from Inter Milan in a £26million deal in 2010.
And the agent later admitted that Balotelli made a huge career mistake when he left the Etihad to join AC Milan three years later.
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