EPL

Man City chairman vows to 'send a strong message' as Guardiola looks to bolster squad

By Sports Desk June 01, 2021

Manchester City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has made a statement of intent ahead of a big transfer window for the Premier League champions, insisting it is "time to send a message".

City's hopes of a treble were dashed on Saturday, as Pep Guardiola's side lost to Chelsea in the club's first appearance in a Champions League final.

Speculation has been rife in recent weeks that City will be in the market for a striker ahead of next season.

Sergio Aguero's departure on a free transfer – the Argentine having joined Barcelona – has left City, who played with a false nine to great success for most of 2020-21, with just one recognised senior striker in Gabriel Jesus.

Erling Haaland and Harry Kane have been the primary targets reported, while Inter's Romelu Lukaku has also been linked with Guardiola previously declaring he wants to bring in a 30-goal per season forward. Kylian Mbappe, meanwhile, has still not penned a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain.

Premier League golden boot winner Kane finished the season with 28 goals and 16 assists in all competitions for Tottenham, averaging a strike every 135 minutes.

Haaland, meanwhile, netted 41 times in as many appearances for Borussia Dortmund. The 20-year-old sensation averaged a goal every 86 minutes, scoring three penalties – Kane netted four times from the spot.

Kane's creativity may make him a more attractive proposition to Guardiola, however. The England captain led the way in the Premier League for assists (14) from 49 chances created. 

And in an interview on City's official media channels released on Tuesday, Al Mubarak hinted at some major movement, stating his confidence in finding the right replacement for Aguero.

"One of the things I've learned over the years is, you need to constantly bring in talent into the team, refresh and particularly when you are at a high level and when you're on the top," he said.

"Having won the league, it is not the time to sit back and be content. That would be your biggest mistake.

"This is the time to send a strong message, that there's no contentment, that you're not satisfied with just winning the league.

"That's great, but you want to win it again and you are committed and you are bringing more talent that is going to compete, not for the squad, but for the starting XI.

"We lose a very important legend in Sergio Aguero. They are very hard shoes to fill, but I'm confident that we will find the right player to fill those shoes."

Reports emerged this week suggesting a number of City players may agitate for a move this off-season, with some rumoured to be unhappy with their roles this season.

Al Mubarak believes firmly in the world class quality at Guardiola's disposal, however, and noted City's business would prioritise adding more high-calibre players, rather than stacking the squad further.

"There are other areas within the group, within the team that obviously need investment. Not too many. It's not about numbers, it's about quality," he continued.

"I think the squad is a phenomenal squad. You don't win the Premier League and you don't reach the Champions League final if you don't have an incredible squad and we have that.

"We will bring quality into the squad in a couple of key positions."

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