Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Man City ‘open talks’ with £58m Arsenal target to provide Erling Haaland with perfect foil

AC Milan pair Rafael Leao and Franck Kessie

Erling Haaland may be followed into Man City by another big-name attacker after news from Italy revealed talks have been opened with an Arsenal target.

Pep Guardiola’s side have reportedly reached an agreement on personal terms to sign Borussia Dortmund hitman, Erling Haaland. That news was broken by the Daily Mail, who reported a five-year deal is in the works.

The Norwegian is poised to become the Premier League’s highest-ever paid player – pocketing north of £500,000-a-week.

The article added Haaland’s £63m release clause will be triggered in the coming weeks. However, per Italian journalist Nicolo Schira, he may not be the only new arrival.

Schira tweeted Manchester City are ‘really interested’ in signing AC Milan forward, Rafael Leao.

The Portuguese, 22, operates primarily on the left wing, though can be deployed in a range of positions across the front line.

That type of versatility is what Guardiola has looked for from his attacking players. Indeed, the likes of Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus have all played both centrally and out wide on numerous occasions during his tenure.

Leao is enjoying his best season to date at the San Siro with 12 goals and six assists to his name. His pace, trickery and direct running style would add yet another dimension to City’s forward line and open up space and opportunities for Haaland to strike.

Haaland alongside Leao or instead of?

Leao has frequently been linked with fellow Premier League side Arsenal. The Gunners will be on the lookout for extra firepower this summer with Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah both out of contract.

However, Schira added Man City have ‘opened talks’ with Leao’s agent, Jorge Mendes.

Milan are deemed reluctant to sell such a prized asset and have offered the forward a contract extension running until 2026. His current deal is due to expire in 2024.

However, if it becomes apparent a sale is a must, Schira suggested AC would demand €70m (£58m) ‘at least’.

Whether City would push all the way to sign Leao at such a steep price now they look likely to land Haaland remains to be seen.

Jack Grealish was signed for £100m last summer and is yet to hit his stride at the Etihad. Bigger things will be expected from him next season and Grealish’s favoured position is also Leao’s.

It may be a case of City hedging their bets and opening dialogue with Leao’s camp in case their Haaland pursuit collapses.

What’s more, the club have already signed Argentine forward Julian Alvarez from River Plate who is due to link up with City in the summer.