The Premier League has seen many talented strikers pave their way in arguably the world’s best football league and have managed to win titles year in year out. However, if any one would have told you five years ago that a premier league side will win the title without a prominent number nine in their starting 11 for the majority of the games, you would’ve probably laughed it off.
Pep Guardiola, the Spanish master of tactics has taken that idea and managed to come out as winners in what was one of the most intense Premier League title race ever seen against Liverpool FC.
After the departure of the club’s all-time top scorer Sergio Aguero at the end of the 2020/21 season, Manchester City were left with only Gabriel Jesus as the club’s striker coming into the 2021/22 season. City had struggled to come up with the goods at times without a proper striker but managed to win the title against all odds because of their superior strategies and sheer determination to win.
In the club’s quest for their maiden UEFA Champions League title, the club has been persistent from day 1 and haven’t stopped their efforts to further improve the squad in this transfer window as well. The club has already given a warning to the Premier League and to all of Europe by acquiring the services of 21 year old Erling Haaland who had been on the radar for all the top clubs this summer.
Given that they are already the dominant team in England, this is a statement that will worry their opponents all over the world.
Last season, Pep Guardiola’s team was outplayed by Liverpool, but they still won their fourth Premier League title in five years. They scored 99 goals, more than any other team, despite frequently playing without a designated striker, and had the joint-best defensive record (26 goals conceded, tied with Liverpool). They had 90 or more points in the league for the third time since 2017-18 and were minutes away from a second consecutive Champions League final before an inexplicable collapse against Real Madrid in the final minutes.
City are a well-oiled winning machine after six years under Guardiola. And, according to Man City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, they are not slowing down just yet.
Haaland is the most notable addition, filling a gap up front that City handled admirably last season, but other changes to the squad, according to sources, will allow Guardiola’s side to compete in every competition next year.
Argentina forward Julian Alvarez, signed from River Plate for £15 million in January, has been told he will not be loaned out, and management has already begun looking for a new left-back and midfielder to replace Fernandinho, who has left the Etihad Stadium after nine seasons.
With the departure of Gabriel Jesus pretty imminent as well, the defending champions will be stepping into the new season with some renovated options in the name of Haaland and Alvarez next year.
Guardiola does not like unhappy players, which is why winger Ferran Torres was allowed to join Barcelona for €55 million in January, but the squad must be strong enough to handle the demands of four competitions.
City are at the start of a summer of change, but their ability to compete for the biggest trophies appears to be unaffected. They have set the standard in the Premier League for the past decade and are continuing to make moves to do so. Their competitors have been warned.