Manchester City might still be the favourites to win the Premier League this season, but alarm bells must be ringing for the Etihad faithful.
Pep Guardiola got plenty wrong as his side were well beaten by Tottenham last weekend, Nuno Espirito Santo’s outfit setting up perfectly to hammer City on the counter-attack, with goalscorer Son Heung-min proving there can be life after Harry Kane at Spurs.
Pep’s players, however, were drastically short of ideas, often standing still on the ball despite being a goal down.
Special praise must be reserved for Japhet Tanganga, who expertly handled the double threat of Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish down his flank, but the match as a whole served as a warning for a side that coped wonderfully without the use of a striker for much of last season.
Fixture congestion saw Guardiola change tack in 2020-21, slowing matches down by dominating the ball in midfield – and it worked, the quality of his players shining through as they won the Premier League.
Now, however, opponents have had a full pre-season, fixtures are more spread out, players are fitter and – perhaps most importantly – fans have returned to stadiums and will not settle for football in first gear.
Guardiola needs to readapt again and, in short, adding a proven striker to his ranks would allow him to do that.
So why not just sign Kane?
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is a notoriously difficult negotiator and, outwardly at least, maintains that Kane is not for sale.
Meanwhile, the player himself has returned to full training with his current club and it’s even been suggested that he could be picked for the starting XI against Wolves this weekend.
Of course, things can change quickly in football, and the feeling with Man City correspondent Jonathan Smith is that Levy could merely be holding out for someone to table a deal that he feels is satisfactory for one of the best strikers in the world.
Basically, he’s in no rush to sell and this one could go all the way to deadline day.
Perhaps City will have better luck against Norwich on Saturday.
▪︎ By Goal.com Newsletter