Pep Guardiola confirmed that Erling Haaland would be fit to face Brentford in his pre-match press conference, but he also had to field questions about the Norwegian’s alleged unhappiness in Manchester.
Rumours have swirled in the Spanish media that the striker isn’t too enamoured by the climate, though nothing official has been confirmed or denied by the player or his representatives, it’s pure speculation at this stage.
Nevertheless, that didn’t stop reporters trying to prod Guardiola for a definitive answer. Asked whether the club wanted to keep hold of Haaland, his manager was unequivocal.
“We are happy to have him, hopefully he is happy to be with us, that is what we know. And the rest I don’t know because we cannot control what the people say,” he said to reporters gathered in his pre-match press conference including from CaughtOffside.
“What do you think? That we don’t want Erling to stay? We want him for a long, long, long time in this club. A long time.
“We are in love with him. We want him.”
As tends to be the case in press conferences, one reporter takes up the baton from another to try and get a little bit more detail regarding questions that have gone before, even if it’s clear that the subject being questioned is a little irked by it.
“If someone wants Erling, it’s easy. Phone Man City and ask,” was Guardiola’s frosty response when asked whether he thought his striker might be interested in a move to one of European football’s mega clubs.
At present, the hit-man will surely just want to concentrate on getting back in the groove on the pitch again.
Out of action since the back end of last year, he’s got a few weeks of lost time to make up.