Manchester City have a squad full of superstars. They have one of the best goalkeepers in the world, several of the planet’s best defenders, top-class midfielders and some stellar wingers.
However, there is one noticeable hole in their side. Following the departure of all-time top goalscorer Sergio Aguero in the summer, they are left without a reliable goalscorer.
This puts them at a disadvantage to a lot of their title rivals. Liverpool have Mohamed Salah, Manchester United have Cristiano Ronaldo, Chelsea have Romelu Lukaku.
Now, this doesn’t rule them out of the title race. After all, they cruised to the league last season while playing without a recognised striker for most of the campaign.
However, this season is looking like it will be a lot more competitive. Man Utd have made three big-name signings, Liverpool have Virgil van Dijk back and Chelsea will have Thomas Tuchel for the entire season.
Over the summer, the Cityzens were involved in two of the biggest transfer sagas of the window.
Firstly, there was Harry Kane, who refused to turn up to training to force a move to the champions. However, Tottenham Hotspur wouldn’t budge on their asking price, and he remained in north London.
Then, there was Ronaldo. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner looked set for a transfer to the Etihad Stadium, but then did an incredible U-turn and returned to Man Utd following intervention from Red Devils legends such as Sir Alex Ferguson and Rio Ferdinand.
By the end of the window, Pep Guardiola was left without a natural striker. Gabriel Jesus has played there for large parts of his career, but he is seemingly preferred on the wing now.
Many were left wondering whether the £100 million spent on Jack Grealish would have been put to better use elsewhere.
Next summer, we can expect Man City to be back in the hunt for a new forward.
Kane will likely be available at a reduced price, while Erling Braut Haaland’s release clause reportedly activates in 2022. But until then, Guardiola will have to make do with what he’s got.
So who is his best option right now? Does he continue playing without a natural number nine and instead with a false nine?
Ferran Torres made his case last night. Up against an Italy side who hadn’t lost in 37 matches, the Spaniard scored a first-half brace to send his side to the Nations League final.
But this wasn’t just a flash in the pan performance. Since arriving in England from Valencia in 2020, the forward has averaged 0.55 goals per 90 minutes, giving him an impressive strike rate.
Furthermore, he has netted 16 goals for Man City from an expected goals of just 10.6, making him a deadly finisher (via FBRef).
This is one thing that the five-time Premier League champions lack. Despite all their talent, there isn’t anyone in their squad who you can rely on for goals.
Their recent results show this. A goalless draw against Southampton was a blow, and they were unable to find the net against Paris Saint-Germain despite dominating for large parts of the game.
Even at Anfield, they may have been disappointed to score just the two goals.
They have some of the best playmakers in the world. The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling, Ilkay Gundogan – they’re all capable of creating tonnes of chances. All they need is someone to finish them off.
Torres is still far from being a world-class striker. Man City will still need to open their wallets next summer for a Kane or a Haaland. But until then, Torres is their best option.
- Football Today: Carrick leaves with his head held high, Skipp shows Alli how it’s done
- Manchester United confirm Michael Carrick has left the club with immediate effect
- 10 players out of contract in the summer who Premier League clubs should target
- Football Today: Everton board to blame for slump, Kane must repay Conte’s faith
- Rafael Benitez could be sacked by Everton after Merseyside derby defeat