Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Football Reporting
Football Reporting

Champions League

Man City’s Southampton struggle highlights Pep Guardiola’s summer transfer regret

There are already signs that Manchester City’s failure to sign a traditional striker this summer could come back to haunt them in their bid to retain their Premier League crown

Video Loading

Video Unavailable

Manchester City V Southampton Match In Pictures

Manchester City were held to a frustrating goalless draw at the Etihad by Southampton on Saturday afternoon.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Guardiola’s side peppered the opposition with 16 shots, but only one of those actually found the target – their lowest tally of the season by some distance.

In fact, it’s the joint-fewest they’ve ever had under Guardiola after they managed a similarly sorry total against Stoke in the 2016/17 campaign.

It’s not a secret that City had earmarked Tottenham talisman Harry Kane as their number one target to fill the boots of legendary striker Sergio Aguero, who departed Manchester this summer.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola was left frustrated by their 0-0 draw with Southampton


Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

AFP via Getty Images)

But they failed to strike a deal with stubborn Spurs chief Daniel Levy – and failed to find an alternative.

It’s left a scenario where Guardiola’s side now lacks a real out-and-out striker.

And the stalemate with Southampton is the perfect example as to why the Etihad hierarchy may rue their failure to rectify that come May.

With the decision to convert Gabriel Jesus into a wider position, Ferran Torres has looked the best bet to fill that number nine role for City in the absence of a traditional striker.

Will failing to sign a striker cost Man City the title this year? Comment below.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

But, bizarrely, the Spanish ace didn’t see a single minute of action against the Saints.

Guardiola instead elected to deploy Raheem Sterling in his place.

Unfortunately for the City boss, the England ace failed to replicate the electric form that he produced for his country over the summer.

Sterling had four shots on goal – the most of anyone in the City team. But he failed to hit the target with any of them.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Raheem Sterling failed to hit the target with any of his four shots against Southampton

The champions have hardly been shy of goals in the Premier League this term. They hit RB Leipzig for six just days ago in the Champions League.

They also have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to creativity in their side – which was even further bolstered by the record-breaking £100m arrival of Jack Grealish in the summer.

Only Liverpool (12) have managed more than the 11 strikes that City and rivals Manchester United have racked up so far this term.

But their blank against Southampton is now the second time they’ve drawn a blank in just five league games this season after their 1-0 opening day loss to Tottenham.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Even with their impressive tally of goals, they still lack that predatory finisher upfront – and the same thing can’t be said for their title rivals.

Chelsea sanctioned a club-record £97.5m package to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge for a second spell after the Belgian excelled with Inter Milan.

Manchester United stole the transfer window with their late move for Cristiano Ronaldo – apparently snatching the 36-year-old from City’s grasp at the 11th hour after their move for Kane collapsed.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of City’s failure to secure an elite striker this summer isn’t the fact that it’s likely to cost them the title. It’s clear that Guardiola’s side are still well-placed to retain their Premier League crown.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

A dejected Phil Foden was the only City player to have a shot on target after coming off the bench

But it’s the fact that signing that elusive forward would likely have elevated them out of the reach of their competitors.

City travel to the side many consider to be their main title rivals, Chelsea, in their next Premier League fixture next weekend.

Tuchel has stoked the flames ahead of the crunch clash by admitting that he himself was certain that City would wrap up a deal for Kane.

But as it stands, when Guardiola and his side head to Stamford Bridge next weekend, there will only be one elite striker on show – and he won’t be playing for City.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Lukaku was the difference between the two sides; both next Sunday and in May.

Read More
Read More

Source link

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Manchester United

Manchester United claimed a late 1-0 win in their Premier League encounter with West Ham on Saturday, but Cristiano Ronaldo was once again left...


Exclusive: Our betting expert with tips for London derby, Liverpool, Arsenal and a tasty 16/1 poke at Leicester PLUS Serie A angle Tottenham talisman...

Manchester United

As William Troost-Ekong wheeled away after scoring the goal that sealed Nigeria’s 2-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau in the Super Eagles’ final Africa Cup of...


The former Man United star, who once earned more than £300,000 a week, is the latest celeb to deal in digital artwork known as...