Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola was able to address his number one problem area during the ‘summer’ transfer window: the defence.
Indeed, not only did the Sky Blues bring in Nathan Ake early on, they also managed to splash the cash to sign the highly-rated Ruben Dias from Benfica. And while City did spend yet more money on defenders, Guardiola also brought in the promising Ferran Torres to strengthen the attack.
But one area which wasn’t strengthened during the transfer window was the striking department, and this has come back to cost Guardiola in the early stages of the season. City couldn’t have predicted that both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus – who is yet to fully prove himself – would be sidelined due to injury, but with the former suffering another injury setback, there is a need to act to address the current issue.
As ridiculously good as Aguero is, he quite simply isn’t getting any younger and Guardiola himself recently admitted that the club were considering signing a new striker during the transfer window. And with both Aguero and Jesus continuing to be troubled by niggling injuries, Guardiola must make the signing of a striker a priority in the coming windows.
But who could he sign, you might be wondering? Well, we here at 90min have decided to lend the former Barcelona boss a helping hand…
Club: Real Madrid
Right, hold on one second City fans.
It’s no secret that Jovic has struggled to settle at Real Madrid since his big money move, but his form for Eintracht Frankfurt simply can’t be forgotten as a result.
This is a striker that netted 27 goals and provided seven assists during the 2018/19 season, resulting in a number of Europe’s top clubs taking up an interest in him.
But at this current moment in time, Jovic is seemingly stuck in a lose-lose position. No matter what he tries at Real, nothing seems to be coming off and a move away is seemingly the only reasonable option to get his career back on the right track.
Los Blancos will be willing to sell and most likely for a very reasonable price, considering his goals tally. Sure, it’s undoubtedly a risky signing, but a move away could help Jovic rediscover his confidence and begin to show something close to his best form again. That being said, however, there are better options out there.
Suitability Rating: 3/10
Moussa Dembele enjoyed a fairly impressive 15 minute cameo appearance against Man City last season, didn’t he?
The Frenchman’s brace for Lyon in the Champions League last term meant the Sky Blues crash out of the competition at the quarter-finals stage. His display pretty much perfectly encapsulated everything bright about him, showing a real striker’s instinct to get into the right place and take a chance with confidence and with ease.
Not only is he a ruthless finisher, Dembele has the ability to hold the ball up and bring his teammates into the game.
It appeared as though the 24-year-old would depart Lyon during the summer, but he ended up staying put. He is yet to find the net in Ligue 1 so far this term and is struggling to hold down a place in the starting lineup.
A deal is there for City, but one concern will be his lack of intensity when out of possession and whether he will fully be able to buy into Guardiola’s system. His form this term will also be a slight deterrence, hence why he is so low on this list.
Suitability Rating: 4/10
Club: PSV Eindhoven
Malen is quietly continuing to build an excellent reputation for himself. The former Arsenal academy man could well prove to be a very shrewd signing for Guardiola, especially considering his comments about the club not having the money to sign the type of striker they want.
The 21-year-old has proven to be a very natural finisher in front of goal, with the forward comfortable with both feet. Equally, however, he is also a threat in the air, despite the fact he stands at under six feet.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about Malen – who has five goals and two assists in nine appearances so far this season – is that he still has areas for improvement despite his undoubted quality.
Capable of playing up front as well as on the wing, Malen has all the attributes to succeed at the Etihad and he would provide serious competition for the forward positions.
There’s a reason why Arsenal fans were so angry to see the club part ways with him…
Suitability Rating: 6.5/10
Club: Red Bull Salzburg
Last season, 22-year-old Daka averaged a goal every 78 minutes, finishing the campaign with 27 goals and 12 assists to his name.
A goal every 78 minutes isn’t bad, is it?
No, it’s actually rather impressive. Well it’s nothing compared to his average so far this term. Daka has averaged a goal every 59 minutes so far, with 12 goals and five assists to his name after just ten appearances.
These figures are simply ridiculous. The striker – who was linked with a move to Tottenham – is already a very complete forward and is capable of playing either as a lone striker, or with a striker partner. Daka was said to be valued at around £20m as well, but this is expected to drastically increase considering his form.
An outstanding goalscoring record? Check. Young, with remarkable potential? Check. Reasonable price? Check. Capable of fitting into Guardiola’s system? Check.
Suitability Rating: 7.5/10
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Local rivals Manchester United are continuing to show an interest in Erling Haaland as well as his Dortmund teammate Jadon Sancho. But the blue side of Manchester should be looking to rival the Red Devils for his signature.
Last season, Haaland managed….44 goals in just 40 appearances for RB Salzburg and Dortmund. 44 goals in 40 appearances. Oh, and he also managed ten assists to go with that as well.
Not bad, eh?
Many were expecting the outrageously talented striker’s figures to drop off somewhat, but instead he’s made an equally bright start to the current campaign. Indeed, he already has seven goals in just eight games.
There are few better natural finishers around, but because of his ability in front of goal, his pace and power is often overlooked. The thought of Haaland teaming up with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling will give Premier League defenders nightmares.
One problem, however, is that his release clause only becomes active in 2022, while United’s interest also cannot be ignored. But there really are few better strikers in European football than Haaland.
Oh, and he’s still just 20.
Suitability Rating: 9/10
It just has to be him, doesn’t it?
Yes, he will cost a fair amount to bring to the club, but Lautaro Martinez checks every box Guardiola and City are after.
Not only is Martinez one of the most complete forwards around, he is also still only 23. As well as being able to link play exceptionally well, he also has the pace, movement and finishing ability to be a constant threat in front of goal.
It’s the balance in the Inter man’s game which makes him the perfect acquisition for the Sky Blues. After finishing the 2019/20 season with 22 goals and seven assists, he has once again made a strong start to the current campaign with three goals to his name already.
Would he come cheap? Most certainly not.
But could he be the ideal long-term Aguero replacement? Absolutely.
He will bring something completely different to Jesus and would thrive under Guardiola.
Suitability Rating: 9.5/10
For more from Adam Aladay, follow him on Twitter!