Guardiola - We Need More Time
Manchester City did not make the start to the new Premier League season that they would have wanted on Sunday.
Instead, they went down to a single goal defeat in North London, away at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with South Korean international Son Heung-min scoring the winner for the home side.
It was a disappointing beginning for City in the defence of their title, especially on a weekend, when the teams likely to challenge them for the League – Chelsea, Manchester United, and Liverpool – not only won but did so in commending fashion.
It was also not the best of debuts for new signing Jack Grealish. City broke the British transfer record for the 25-year-old when they paid Aston Villa £100 million for him a few weeks ago, but he struggled to get into the game and was well-marshalled by the Tottenham defence.
Afterwards, manager Pep Guardiola tried to put a positive spin on it, insisting that his side needed more time to gel, pointing out that a number of players were not available to him, either due to injury, or because they are not yet up to fitness after returning late from holiday after their involvement at this summer’s Euros.
Guardiola, though, is long enough in the tooth to know that time is a luxury that sometimes football managers are not afforded and that supporters can be demanding of instant success.
They are like some players in online no deposit casinos in Ireland (see here for details) who expect to win every time they play.
Football though does not work that way, and it is a long season, so there is still time for City to recover lost ground.
And what may yet make a difference to City’s campaign is if they are able to engineer a deal for Tottenham striker and England captain Harry Kane before the transfer window closes.
Kame was absent from the match yesterday, ostensibly because he was not match fit, with his camp adamantly denying media reports that he had refused to report for pre-season training in order to force a move to City.
Tottenham have publicly said that they will not be selling the 27-year old who is under contract until 2024, but privately, sources have indicated that they are prepared to listen to the right offer, which will be somewhere north of the figure that City paid for Grealish.
City are one of the few clubs in world football that can afford such a fee right now, along with PSG and Chelsea, although the latter have just broken their own transfer record to re-sign striker Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan.
Buying Kane will not only add the proven striker that City have missed since Sergio Agüero left the club, but also equip them for another tilt at the Champions League again this season.
It is the prize that Guardiola and City prize above all else, and having lost in the final to Chelsea last season, the England striker may help them go one further this time round.
Meanwhile, Spanish clubs, once the big spenders in European football, can only watch all this spending by the likes of City, Chelsea, and PSG, round-eyed with envy. The days when they could buy any player they wanted in the world are gone, at least for the time being.