Pep Guardiola has signaled Manchester City’s intention to buy a striker, raising the prospect of competing with Europe’s big-spending clubs for Erling Haaland. Manchester United’s net spend this summer, meanwhile, will be determined by reaching the Champions League.
City are set to be major players in the market after Guardiola revealed he wants to sign an out-and-out striker following Tottenham Hotspur’s refusal to sell Harry Kane last year. Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland, 21, is set to be available for €75million and is also a target for Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The Premier League champions showed in their pursuit of Kane that they are willing to explore deals for world-class players, should they become available and represent sound investment to the club.
“The club needs a striker, definitely. I don’t agree with you saying ‘we play fantastically well without a striker’ because we are winning,” said Guardiola, ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby.
“When we are not winning, you say ‘we need a striker, I’m naive. How do these guys play without a striker?’ The club is going to try, it hasn’t happened but in the end we adapt. We adapt to the players and never complain.
“With a striker, we play in a different way but if you don’t have it you have to adapt with the quality that we have. If you don’t have one you have to play in a completely different way to United, Southampton, Liverpool, because they play another philosophy. In England, we are little bit like an exception for that.”
Man Utd’s transfer budget to be slashed if they fail to make Champions League
United’s summer transfer budget will be slashed should Ralf Rangnick fail to get them into the Champions League, with a modest spend of around £80million expected even if they keep their place in Europe’s elite.
They are set to hire a permanent manager this summer, with Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag among those considered, but the new appointment’s first window is not predicted to top the spending of last summer when Jadon Sancho arrived for £73million and was joined by Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane.
Their transfer kitty will be dependent on whether interim manager Rangnick can keep United in the top four of the Premier League or pull off a Champions League triumph, with their last-16 tie in their favor after drawing at Atletico Madrid. Dropping into the Europa League could see spending reduced to around £50million.
The new manager will be expected to change the look of the squad as Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard are out of contract and can join another club on a free transfer. Other transfer funds can be raised by selling players surplus to requirements, although their players are on good salaries which other clubs may struggle to match.
United’s latest financial figures were released last week and revealed their debt is now £494.8mmillion, up 8.6% from their previous announcement.
Guardiola, meanwhile, says he will think about his future at the end of the season when he has one full campaign left on his contract.
“I have to see if the players follow me, we have success, and I’m not going to say if I’ll stay,” said Guardiola. “We have to see if we can do it together and everyone is involved in that. I have to feel it, that’s why I extended the contract two times here.
“I’m incredibly satisfied, I’m not here to move to another place. I have to feel everybody, especially the players, they are comfortable working with me, still we can fight to win and you have to see. For me it would be easy to sign three or four more years but we will see what happens. We are together and we have to see until the end of the season.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.