Pep Guardiola transfer comments show Man City are prepared to make difficult Harry Kane decision
There was some confusion over Pep Guardiola’s latest transfer comments this week.
On Monday, quotes from Guardiola’s interview with Catalan TV suggested Manchester City are willing to spend £100m on a player, but are prepared to start next season without their main transfer targets if a deal cannot be reached.
He said: “I don’t know how the market will end. I don’t know, with Txiki [Begiristain], what we can do because many times you want to do things that are not possible.”
That’s a sensible approach to take, given all the complexities that would be involved in signing Harry Kane or Jack Grealish, or both. It’s not as simple as identifying a target and simply buying them.
City have shown in the past they will walk away from prime targets if the price becomes too high. And Manchester United have shown that waiting a year can bring the price down if the target also wants to move. City will remember their pursuit of Riyad Mahrez and come to the same conclusion.
The confusion this week came from some outlets reporting Guardiola’s comments from February as coming from the same interview in Catalonia.
Then, he had said in a press conference: “With the prices we are not going to buy any strikers, it is impossible, we can not afford it. It’s impossible.
“I don’t know what is going to happen. Maybe we’re going to buy but maybe, maybe we’re not going to buy any striker for the next season. Today there is more chance we aren’t going to buy any striker for the next season.”
Those comments may be five months old, but the sentiment remains the same, even if his more recent thoughts offer slightly more optimism that a deal will be done.
City have shown they are not going to hand over an empty cheque just to get their targets – even if that means missing out on their ideal player in Harry Kane.
The England captain is homegrown, prolific, ambitious, and would guarantee success. It’s everything Guardiola looks for in a player, and would improve all those around him. Similar attributes could be given to Jack Grealish, albeit with more potential than a proven record.
So it’s to City’s credit that even though they could sign one or both this summer, they won’t put future negotiations at risk by bending to the demands of a selling club.
Guardiola added this week: “What we can do, we will do and if we do not continue with the squad we have, with which we have won three Leagues in four years, we have finally reached a Champions League final.”
That is possibly the more important point to focus on, rather than some month-old quotes. City would be stronger for signing Kane, or Grealish, but have a talented squad with plenty of options to manage without.
They did it last year, and are prepared to do it again next year. Even if it means Kane scoring goals for someone else at the same time.