City have made a world-class forward a priority for the Summer Window and the decision to let Aguero go on a free transfer has only reinforced that need. However, after being unable to convince Tottenham to sell Harry Kane despite the England captain being their only target up front, the Blues ultimately decided not to accept superagent Jorge Mendes on his Cristiano Ronaldo offer after a few days of reflection.
Pep Guardiola doesn’t expect any further entry or exit in the remaining four days of the transfer window, with the only difference to last season’s squad being the arrival of the £ 100million striker sterling Jack Grealish and the departures of Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia in Barcelona. Given that Gabriel Jesus told the manager he prefers to play on the wing, City are actually two less center-forward than last season.
It should be noted that this group of players have come very close to securing an unprecedented quadruple and can therefore still expect to face challenges on all fronts this season. However, while Guardiola has defined all of the team members who can be used up front, he also recognized the need to bring in new faces.
“We can’t forget how good we’ve been doing lately with the same team we have,” he said. “Like all clubs, we always try to improve ourselves, to improve the team and the team because we are not the same people, because the players at a given moment are at a level and after time they reduce their level; afterwards they can go up sometimes but sometimes not.
“We have four or five players in the academy that we can absolutely count on. Liam [Delap] is one of them. Unfortunately, he couldn’t be with us in the pre-season because he’s injured and it’s a bit complicated. It is an option but we have a lot of players who can play in this position. Rahim [Sterling] can play striker, Ferran [Torres] can play there, Gabriel can play there, even Riyadh [Mahrez] and Jack Grealish can play it.
“We don’t have a typical forward like Liam but we can find alternatives. I still think in the last few years we’ve scored a lot of goals playing with or without a striker. We have to play better, try to reach the level of intensity of desire and hunger that we had against Norwich and be consistent in every game in doing that. This is the goal and to play better in the process and the high pressing. When we defend in depth, be stronger. Improve our set pieces. This is what we want to do and this is what we will try. “