Even though Manchester City won the Premier League title — rather comfortably, we might add — without the help of a “25- or 30-goal” striker, Pep Guardiola admits “it helps a lot” to have such a player, therefore he hopes to sign one this summer.
Following Harry Kane’s stated desire to leave Tottenham Hotspur this summer, Manchester City were predictably linked with a move for the 27-year-old England captain. Simply put, it would be an embarrassment of riches should Manchester City sign Kane, although their Premier League title defense hardly hinges upon bringing Kane or, say, Erling Haaland to the Etihad Stadium — quotes from the Guardian:
“To win titles, especially the Premier League, the statistics speak for themselves — you need at least three guys [scoring] more than 10, 12, 15 goals to be competitors. But when you have a guy who scores 25 or 30, it helps a lot.
“We will try due to the way we play to have everybody involved in scoring goals. The more players we have with this quality, the better we will be.”
“I would love to have a guy who scores 50 goals. I would love it, but at the same I don’t like just to have all the pressure on one player. Even at Barcelona, Lionel Messi scored more than 50 goals every season, but in that team for example, in our first season Samuel Eto’o scored a lot.”
Do Manchester City need to sign a striker?
Guardiola knows firsthand the difference between a Premier League-winning side with, and without, a reliable goal-getting striker. In Guardiola’s first three seasons as Manchester City manager, Sergio Aguero scored 20, 21 and 21 goals in the Premier League (33, 30 and 32 in all competitions) before injuries began to take their toll and his availability became an issue in seasons no. 4 and 5. Unsurprisingly, Manchester City won the title twice in three seasons.
Last season, Aguero hit 16 and 23; this season, 2 and 4. The title went to Liverpool a year ago, when Manchester City were perhaps unprepared for Aguero’s eventual demise. Now, Guardiola reigns supreme again after playing long periods of the 2020-21 season with a striker-less formation.
The strategy involved only served to highlight Guardiola’s brilliance as a manager, but when you have the budget of Manchester City, why make the job anymore difficult than it has to be?