The value of an out-and-out striker and why Manchester City are bucking the trend
By Musaab Samadi
Having missed out on Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer, Manchester City’s star-studded squad looked bereft of striking talent.
Sergio Aguero and his 184 City goals were on their way to Barcelona while Pep Guardiola’s side were left to depend on the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres.
But Guardiola and his colleagues remained resolute in their bidding wars and refused to let their desperation show when Tottenham wanted them to spend above the odds for their prized England centre forward.
“The club did absolutely everything,” said Guardiola.
"Colin Bell Stand, Etihad Stadium" by Gene Hunt is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“We didn’t talk about Tottenham, not even one offer, because they didn't want to negotiate. It’s understandable.
“The moment they open the door, maybe we’ll say. But we’re not going to pay £200m, we tried to negotiate, but the big master of negotiation Mr Daniel Levy, we could not do it.
“He’s a Tottenham player and I wish him all the best to do well in London.”
The acquisition of Ronaldo was also in the rumour mill for a while but given his age profile it may not have been the correct fit. Nevertheless, neighbours Manchester United swooped to take CR7 back home to Old Trafford.
And Guardiola knew that transfer also looked unlikely in the days prior to the move back to the red side of Manchester.
“Ronaldo will decide where he wants to play. Not Manchester City, not myself. Right now it looks far, far, away,” said Guardiola.
But even despite those mishaps Manchester City have excelled in front of goal again this season and scored 32 goals in 15 games in the Premier League as they sit top of the standings.
They scored 17 times in their first five Champions League fixtures, where they were first in Group A, ahead of the mighty PSG who boasted Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
At the same time, Ronaldo spearheads a Manchester United attack that has yet to set the world alight coming up to the midway point of the season. And even with a fully fit Kane Tottenham’s stuttering continues as well.
Liverpool provided the blueprint in recent seasons with Mohamad Salah and Sadio Mané flanking Roberto Firmino in attack. Diogo Jota has added his edge this year too.
Manchester City followed suit with either Aguero or Jesus up top, and Raheem Sterling or Phil Foden combing with Bernardo Silva or Riyad Mahrez.
Jack Grealish came in from Aston Villa to add his nous this season but with only Jesus and Torres to act as an out-and-out striker, Manchester City looked in real trouble.
Nevertheless, Guardiola has proven himself to be a versatile operator over the years and he got his players to adapt and prove that they didn’t need to spend big to bring in more finishers.
Manchester City may well have cracked the code on this one, showing others how they can find more goals with their current crop.
There’s no doubt that City still had to spend hundreds of millions to assemble their squad but they would have had to do similar to bring in Kane or dish out on a big wage package to attract Ronaldo.