Pep Guardiola has caused quite a stir by saying that Manchester City cannot afford to buy a new striker this summer.
Manchester City, one of the richest (if not the richest) clubs in the world, cannot afford to buy a new forward to replace the outgoing Sergio Aguero.
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With Aguero, 32, leaving this summer, Guardiola was asked ahead of their game against Leicester City this Saturday (Watch live, 12:30pm ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) about being linked with top strikers to replace Aguero.
“There is a big chance we are not going to sign a striker this summer,” Guardiola said. “We have enough players in the first team right now and we have interesting players in the academy, so there is a big chance that because of the economic situation in the world right now, we are not going to sign a striker next season.”
“I don’t know what is going to happen but at these prices we are not going to buy any striker,” Guardiola continued. “It’s impossible. We cannot afford it. All the clubs are struggling financially, us as well. Today there is more chance we will not buy a striker next season.”
What are the expensive options Pep Guardiola is talking about?
The main one is Erling Haaland.
Haaland’s father and his agent, Mino Raiola, met with Barcelona and Real Madrid this week to discuss a potential $200 million summer transfer from Borussia Dortmund.
Manchester City were expected to be at the front of the queue when it comes to Premier League clubs to sign the Norwegian star, 20, but this seems like Pep trying to drive down the price for Haaland.
He has a well-documented frosty relationship with Raiola, and that could scupper any move to City, but do we believe Pep when he says City can’t afford a new striker to replace Aguero?
No, we don’t.
With Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and others linked with big transfer moves to City, do we think Pep is going to stick with Gabriel Jesus, Ferran Torres and playing other attacking players in a false nine role? He could and they would still probably win trophies, but after 10 years with Aguero, the luxury of having a clinical striker is clear for all to see.
There is of course the Lionel Messi factor too, and although he would cost a huge fee in terms of wages he would be a free agent. But it now seems likely Messi will remain at Barcelona next season, and it seems likely that City will sign a new striker.
But the more you think about it, perhaps it will be a back-up option (like Danny Ings) than a superstar who would disrupt the incredible rhythm and rotation they have in attack.
Pep Guardiola is a very smart man and he could be playing this down for many reasons. One of those reasons is that Pep could be telling the truth in order to calm down the expectations among City’s fans and show support to his current attackers.