Agent Mahrez! Erling Haaland reveals how new Man City team-mate Riyad talked him into signing while they partied in a Mykonos club last year, while Europe’s giants were chasing a £51m deal for him
- City have announced the signing of Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund
- The 21-year-old Norwegian star has given his first interview since joining City
- Haaland said he was looking forward to working under manager Pep Guardiola
- He feels ‘at home’ at City and said he has been a fan of the club his whole life
The striker, the most sought-after youngster in world football, was unveiled almost 22 years to the day since his father, Alf Inge, signed for City.
Speaking in his first interview as a City player, the Norwegian star said he had discussed moving to the Etihad with Mahrez while the two were on holiday in Mykonos in June 2021.
‘He told me to come to City and he was right about that!’ Haaland said. ‘We talked and he said some good things about the club.’
Erling Haaland has given his first interview since signing for Manchester City
Haaland had flown out to the Greek island with friends for some down time, and bumped into Mahrez, who was also on holiday with his friendship group.
The pair could be seen dancing and waving napkins in the air as the two groups mingled in a relaxed atmosphere.
And after seeing the video online, Mahrez re-posted it on his Twitter account, complete with the caption: ‘Agent Mahrez on duty’.
Mahrez later clarified that he was ‘just having fun’, which he poked fun at on Monday by quote Tweeting the message accompanied with ‘or not’.
Haaland (left) and Mahrez were seen partying together on holiday in Greece last June
Haaland penned a five-year contract worth around £385,000 a week and believes Pep Guardiola can take his game to a new level.
‘I’ve been a City fan my whole life and know a lot about the club,’ the 21-year-old said. ‘I feel a bit like home here.
‘I think I can develop a lot under Pep and with this club. I can get better in a lot of things and hopefully I can score a lot of goals.
‘I’ve spoken a little bit with him and we’re looking forward to working with each other. My father knows how it is, what is the best for me. He’s been a good dad in that respect. I went to a lot of (City) games with my mum, sister and brother watching him.’
City announced the signing of Haaland with throwback pictures in a social media post
City will turn their attention to central midfield in the transfer market as they look to replace Fernandinho following his release at the end of the season. Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips is the preferred target with City keen to wrap up a deal ahead of next month’s short pre-season tour of the United States.
But a frontline striker represented the priority ahead of another title defence, with City looking to win a fourth in five years. The family connection was a key factor in convincing Haaland into choosing the Etihad Stadium over the Bernabeu.
‘This is a proud day for me and my family,’ Haaland added. ‘I have always watched City and have loved doing so in recent seasons. You can’t help but admire their style of play, it’s exciting and they create a lot of chances, which is perfect for a player like me.
‘There are so many world-class players in this squad and Pep is one of the greatest managers of all-time, so I believe I am in the right place to fulfil my ambitions.
‘I want to score goals, win trophies and improve as a footballer and I am confident I can do that here.’
Haaland said he could develop even further under City manager Pep Guardiola
City were expected to part with £63m to trigger a release clause in his contract but have secured Haaland for £12m less than that figure. Agency fees and bonuses will take the eventual outlay to £85m
Those finances are similar to the overall deal Barcelona put together to land Ferran Torres in January.
Haaland could make his first appearance in City colours against Mexicans Club America scheduled on July 21 in Houston.
Haaland’s father Alf Inge played for City for three years and was heavily involved in the deal