Erling Haaland has explained why he snubbed Chelsea for Manchester City this summer, with Pep Guardiola stifling Thomas Tuchel’s dream signing. The west Londoners were among several top-flight sides interested in signing the former Borussia Dortmund striker, though it seems that several factors contributed towards Todd Boehly’s misfortune.
After swapping the Signal Iduna Park for the Etihad, the 21-year-old was presented to City fans — along with Julian Alvarez and Stefan Ortega. And, during the presentation, Haaland spoke of his decision to join his father’s former club, claiming that Guardiola’s philosophy played a significant role in courting his attention.
Citing Dortmund’s clash with City in the Champions League quarter-final last season, the Norway international said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News: “I played against them in the Champions League last year. You see them on TV and when you meet it’s completely different.
“I didn’t touch the ball for 25 minutes. ‘Please Ilkay Guendogan, stop playing tiki-taka!’ It’s a different level how they approach the game, create chances. That’s what I wanted to be a part of.”
Since taking centre stage at Dortmund, Haaland quickly grew into one of Europe’s most highly sought-after strikers. And, before the ink had dried on a contract that confirmed his £17m switch from Red Bull Salzburg in 2019, the Norwegian’s representatives had already begun to plot their client’s next move, according to ESPN.
The report claims that in April 2021, Mino Raiola — who sadly passed earlier this year following illness — and father Alfie visited Real Madrid and Barcelona on the day over a potential transfer. Earlier this year, ESPN added that Chelsea and Bayern Munich bought tickets for the raffle, though it was the Premier League champions who ‘left the best impression’.
However, while Tuchel’s side were in the race, the west Londoners had reservations about signing Haaland — and it wasn’t financially motivated, but instead tactically. ESPN claim that Chelsea scouts ‘raised concerns’ about whether the striker’s stylistic profile would be suited to the Premier League.
The Blues’ entourage outlined that the transition from German football to English could prove a problem; there’s less space for forward players to attack and run into in the Premier League, compared with the Bundesliga. Though time will tell as to whether Chelsea have made the correct decision.