Pep Guardiola has insisted that Manchester City will not be able to buy a new striker(s) in the current transfer market.
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That sound you can hear is fans of Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur celebrating with Erling Haaland and Harry Kane slumping their shoulders.
Speaking to Catalan network TV3, Guardiola confirmed that City may have to plan to not sign a new striker to replace Sergio Aguero.
“At the prices (quoted) we are not going to buy any strikers. It is impossible, we cannot afford it,” Guardiola said. “All clubs are struggling financially, we are not an exception. We have Gabriel (Jesus) and Ferran (Torres) who have been incredible in this position. We have young players in the academy and we play many times with a false nine. There is more of a chance we aren’t going to buy a striker for next season.”
Is it all a game?
Guardiola has said this before and may be trying to drive the prices down on these strikers, but the situation has changed quite a bit since then.
City lost in the FA Cup semifinal and UEFA Champions League final to Chelsea (failing to score on both occasions) and it’s not outlandish to say the lack of a clinical striker cost them a quadruple.
It’s also not outlandish to say people will be getting out the world’s smallest violin in sympathy for Guardiola and City. They have so many star attacking players and as he said, the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres are rising stars in the game.
Can either rise to the level of Aguero? No, probably not.
But as long as City have Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva (we could go on) and Co. to back the young forwards up, City will be just fine.
Kane or Haaland in the future?
What is happening here is Guardiola is pointing out a fact: City rarely pay huge transfer fees and a lot of their top signings are close to the $75 million mark, but not over. This could be because of financial fair play rules and spending more money on wages than transfer fees, but there is clearly a solid club philosophy.
Guardiola would love to sign Harry Kane or Erling Haaland this summer but it’s clear he isn’t hopeful. Both would cost way over $150 million this summer.
Kane is locked into a long-term contract at Tottenham, while Haaland has a release clause next summer which is considerably lower than what Dortmund want for him this summer.
People will have a pop at Pep for saying one of the wealthiest teams in history can’t afford a striker, but he’s probably right.
City could perhaps focus on Kylian Mbappe (one year left on his current contract) or Danny Ings (also has just a year left) this summer or in January? There are plenty of alternative options but City will be focusing on adding top attacking talents, with Jack Grealish also linked with a move.
Over the next month we will see how close to reality these comments are from Guardiola.