Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is a manager used to getting what he wants in the game. The Spaniard has been busy again during pre-season and is hot on the heels of some huge names. He continues his quest to win the UEFA Champions League with his current employers, and the board appear willing to offer their usual financial support.
Pep’s top target remains England striker Harry Kane, but he will have to break the bank – even by City’s standards – if he is to tempt the striker from Tottenham. The price tag attached to last season’s Premier League top scorer by several tabloids and sports news sites is £160m. That would smash the league record transfer deal, and the forward is reported to be raking in a staggering £400,000 a week if the deal goes through.
The man once described as the best striker in the world won’t be allowed to leave London without Spurs getting the best deal possible for a player who has come through their youth ranks. As well as the hefty transfer fee, head coach Nuno Espirito Santo may insist on at least one star included in the deal. Which squad players could Pep use to help push the Kane deal over the line?
The top UK betting websites offer odds on a range of summer transfer markets connected to Man City and Tottenham. These are designed to give the English Premier League followers an interest during pre-season before the real action begins with the return of games on Friday 13 August when Norwich City hosts Liverpool at Carrow Road.
Let’s look at some of the available options.
Sterling is the obvious makeweight
Raheem Sterling was the hero of England’s Euro 2020 campaign and enjoyed a more successful summer than Kane, the hot favourite to finish as the competition’s leading scorer. The attacker hasn’t been banging in the goals for Man City of late, and that’s the main reason why most pundits had written him off to make any real impact at the Euros. But make an impact he did.
Sterling scored the only goal of the game to beat Croatia on matchday one and was on target in England’s other group match against the Czech Republic. So, what’s going on at the Etihad. Raheem hinted in a post-match chat with the press after grabbing the winner against Croatia that all was not well at his main employer. That could lead to him leaving in this summer’s transfer window. Despite not being the flavour of the month with Guardiola, it would appear, the Man City board won’t allow him to leave on the cheap, and the English media won’t allow him to rot on the bench.
It’s obvious there are some top strikers incoming, but financial fair play rules mean they must make room for them by selling. Man City already came extremely close to being thrown out of the Champions League by UEFA last year. They must tread carefully when making any deals to bolster their squad as it appears they are already on their last warning.
That’s where the Kane swap deal comes in. Spurs hold all the aces in this transfer, so they can afford to play hardball. The fact that the transfer has caught national news attention means the pressure is now on Man City to deliver a deal. It’s a signing that has caught the attention of their fans, and they won’t be happy if they miss out on one of the biggest names in football after singling him out.
Sterling’s value won’t be low, but he could be used as a makeweight to get the Kane to Man City deal done and dusted. That would allow Spurs to make a huge profit off the transfer while getting a ready-made replacement in Sterling. A happy Raheem would score almost as many goals for Spurs in the league and Europe as Kane would, and his style of play means he’d likely provide plenty more assists for his teammates.
There are options on the table
The signing of Kane doesn’t rest on Sterling going to Tottenham, and it remains to be seen if that’s a move that interests Raheem. The striker comes into this campaign off the back of a thrilling summer and may not want to join Spurs and face playing twice a week, Sunday in the Premier League, then Thursday in the Europa. He’s a Champions League quality player; of that, there can be no doubt, and Spurs may not match his ambitions at this stage of his career. The Londoners aren’t one of the pre-season favourites to challenge for the league title with Spurs stuck in a transitional period.
There are options on the table other than Sterling. Some of the stars Man City have to offer in a cash plus player deal include Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva. Either one of these three would be welcomed by Tottenham fans and would help take the brunt force off losing Kane to a league rival. If Spurs were to get Jesus, for example, as well as a big chunk of change, it could transform their season. Yes, they lose a proven scorer in Kane, but they would receive a great player and enough cash to go out and but one or two world-class attackers.
One man who won’t be leaving in this transfer window is Fernandinho, who signed a contract extension that means the vet will stay another year. That won’t be the biggest news to come out of Man City this summer, but it’s important all the same. The City captain may be nearing the end of his career, but he still plays an important role.
The Brazilian is showing no signs of slowing down. The fans and staff seem to adore him, he’s Mr Reliable on the field of play, and his experience will prove invaluable to the team as they push to defend their league title and go one better in the Champions League than they did last season.