Pep Guardiola believes Erling Haaland would be happy at Manchester City even if the club changed managers.
As Guardiola’s contract expires at the end of next season, the City manager has said there is no guarantee he will agree new terms, with a decision on his future to be made at that point. On Wednesday, the club signed the 21-year-old striker to a five-year contract, the length of which suggests the Norwegian will play under Guardiola for more than 12 months.
“The players who come here don’t come to play for me, they come to play in this league and for this club,” Guardiola said. “It is so important that the people [fans], the way we play, the team we are, the city, where we are in the league, how we’re going to play in the Champions League in the coming seasons. There are many things to consider.
“People don’t come for a month or a year. Sergio [Agüero] came here and did 10 years, David Silva came here and did 10 years and Vincent [Kompany, actually 11] same and Yaya Touré [eight years]† Many important players arrive here and stay for a long time. How long depends on whether they are happy here.
“What we do is make sure they feel happy in the city, in the dressing room, playing in the Premier League and much more. Who knows what will happen next. But this is the idea.”
Guardiola indicated that, as with all City signings, Haaland will have to show that he has the right mentality to suit the club. “Everything is in the head, every action you do comes from here — how you handle the pressure and mindset,” he said. “But when you come to a club like City and other clubs around the world with standards, you either adapt or you can’t be here. There’s no secret about that. We have to prove ourselves, myself included.”
Guardiola is not concerned that City’s high standards will make it more difficult to find footballers of the required class. “There are a lot of top quality players around the world who could fit in here. Without a doubt.” he said. “The world is so big and has a thousand million teams and talented top players who could definitely play here.
“If there are players with a particularly good mentality who want to win again, then win again and win every day. [that’s what we want]† The big difference is that the top players can handle the big teams. That is the most important thing to find.”
City visit West Ham on Sunday and the win would put them on a point to retain the title. City have scored 94 goals and 19 in the last four league games, so is reaching 100 a priority? “It’s important to win the Premier League,” he said. “If we score 99, that’s good. But the most important thing is to win the Premier League.
“We need four points mathematically, but we’re going to play to win the first and then the second against Aston Villa with our people when everything is sold out.” [at the Etihad Stadium] to make three points and win the title. That’s our only target. That’s why it’s West Ham, West Ham and West Ham. Not the future, nothing else. The present is the most important.”