Mixed emotions for Guardiola as Real Madrid drop Haaland interest but set sights on blockbuster Man City raid

Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva and Julian Alvarez of Man City

Real Madrid have reportedly decided they will not try to sign Erling Haaland from Manchester City this summer, although they will attempt to capture one of his team-mates in a big-money deal.

Real were in the frame to sign Haaland from Borussia Dortmund last summer. However, City beaten them to the transfer by matching his £51million release clause and tying him down to a five-year contract.

The striker has been sensational this season, bagging an incredible 50 goals in 44 appearances. 34 of those strikes have come in the Premier League and Haaland is on the verge of surpassing the scoring record set by Alan Shearer and Andy Cole. That is despite those two players managing 34 goals in 42-match seasons.

Haaland is also City’s record scorer in a single campaign, as well as the quickest player to reach 30 Champions League strikes.

Haaland is loving life under Pep Guardiola at City. The Premier League leaders, who are on course for a stunning treble, are managing his minutes well and are getting the best out of him.

But Real always pose a threat when it comes to the world’s best players and they have been regularly linked with the Norwegian.

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And the Spanish titans were recently given hope about luring Haaland away from City. According to reports emerging from Spain, the player has rejected the opportunity to discuss a new contract with Guardiola’s side.

City were hoping to sort out a new deal that would get rid of the £175m release clause in his current terms. But he has decided to stick with the contract he has, which might make it slightly easier for him to achieve a big-money move in the next few years.

Real Madrid move onto different Man City star

It would make sense if Real pursued Haaland as they will soon need a new striker, with Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema now 35 years old. But according to Sport Witness, who cite fresh reports coming out of Spain, Real have decided against going all out for Haaland.

But they will still attempt to future-proof their attack with signing of a City ace this summer. It is claimed they want Haaland’s team-mate Julian Alvarez to become Benzema’s ‘heir’.

Alvarez has had to play second fiddle to Haaland this term. However, when he has played – by either replacing Haaland at centre-forward or going out wide – the Argentina international has looked sharp.

His record stands at 15 goals and five assists from 42 matches this campaign.

While Alvarez is not the powerhouse striker Haaland is, he is still a top-class forward in his own right. He is quick, possesses great movement in the box and is a great finisher.

The report suggests Real will challenge City later this year by launching an ‘attractive offer’ for Alvarez. It is unclear exactly how much money Real will propose, but it sounds like it will be well over the £14m City originally spent on the attacker.

It is very hard to see Alvarez leaving Manchester, despite Real’s interest. City only captured him in January last year and view him as a player for the future.

And having a great striker like Alvarez in their ranks is important if City are to prevent Haaland from being overplayed and keep him at the peak of his powers.

Another factor to consider is City’s ambitions of winning the Champions League. They will not want to sell a top player to Real as the La Liga outfit are one of their main competitors for Europe’s most coveted club trophy.

While Real may enter preliminary talks with City over Alvarez, they will likely be told a flat ‘no’ and will have to pursue other goalscorers.

Meanwhile, Barcelona boss Xavi has named the winner of the City and Arsenal title race, as well as giving his verdict on City’s Champions League hopes.