Manchester City believe Pep Guardiola will sign a new contract this summer – even if he leads the Blues to the Champions League.
Guardiola has one more season left on his current deal, but talks have already taken place with his agent brother Pere about extending his stay at the Etihad until 2025 . And the message was that the Catalan will have unfinished business in Manchester – even if City become European champions next month.
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There have been suggestions that Guardiola will walk away if he lifts the Champions League for the first time as a manager without having Lionel Messi in his team. But Guardiola believes the team he has built is yet to peak.
City are closing in on Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland – and a huge part of the negotiations that have taken place with the Norwegian’s father Alfie involved the future of Guardiola.
City have informed Dortmund that they are willing to trigger Haaland’s £63million release clause after being assured that the player sees the opportunity to work under Guardiola too good to refuse.
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The 51-year-old former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has brought unprecedented pulling power to City during his six years with the club. And Etihad bosses are now so confident that he will stay with the club beyond 2023 that the groundwork on identifying a potential successor remains on the back burner.
A deal with Haaland has been agreed in principle after the 21-year-old realised that a move to the Etihad would be better for his development than joining Real Madrid . Haaland has designs on winning the Ballon d’Or as well as the game’s top trophies.
And while City’s Champions League semi-final with Madrid is still in the balance after the Blues’ epic 4-3 first-leg victory last week, the Spanish club need to rebuild their squad. La Liga has also lost some of its lustre after Messi followed Cristiano Ronaldo out of Spain.
City have been searching for a top striker for the last three years after it became clear that the clock was ticking on Sergio Aguero’s career. Guardiola was able to win the title for the third time in four years last season, despite Aguero’s struggles with injuries and illness.
He was hugely frustrated by his club’s failure to force through a deal for Tottenham ’s Harry Kane last summer. City have made it clear to him that they would bring in the goalscorer he needs at the end of the season – and are prepared to hand Haaland a big signing-on fee and wages that will match £400,000-a-week top earner Kevin De Bruyne.
City could raise over £100million in the summer by selling Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling. Jesus is wanted by Arsenal but City value the Brazilian at around £40million.
And Sterling’s future will also be decided at the end of the season as his contract moves into its final 12 months. Guardiola wants a central midfielder to replace long-serving Brazilian Fernandino as well as a new left-back.
The City boss is an admirer of Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse. Manchester United , Tottenham and Arsenal are also tracking the 27-year-old, who has been outstanding for the Saints again this season.
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