Pep Guardiola found himself back at square one in his search for Sergio Aguero’s replacement earlier this week after admitting that Manchester City have been priced out of moves for their desired targets.
City have been linked with big-money moves for Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland and Tottenham talisman Harry Kane, with the reigning Premier League champions being quoted as much as £150million if they want to sign the England skipper.
City even had a £100m bid rejected by Spurs for Kane while Haaland seems to be no longer financially viable.
Man City boss Pep Guardiola is searching for Sergio Aguero’s replacement this summer
City have been linked with moves for Harry Kane (left) and Erling Haaland (right) this summer
Speaking to Catalan network TV3 earlier this month, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss insisted ‘there is more of a chance’ no new addition will come in to replace the Argentine because billionaire-backed City have also been affected financially by Covid-19.
‘At the prices (quoted) we are not going to buy any strikers. It is impossible, we cannot afford it,’ Guardiola said.
‘All clubs are struggling financially, we are not an exception. We have Gabriel (Jesus) and Ferran (Torres) who have been incredible in this position.
Aguero saw out the rest of his deal at City and completed a free transfer to Barcelona
‘We have young players in the academy and we play many times with a false nine. There is more of a chance we aren’t going to buy a striker for next season.’
So with main targets Kane and Haaland now deemed too expensive, who else could replace Aguero now that the Argentine has completed his free move to Barcelona?
Sportsmail looks at five cheaper strikers that could help fill the hole left by the club’s greatest ever scorer.
DANNY INGS (Southampton)
The Southampton striker has recently rejected a lucrative new four-year contract at the club and is looking to play for one of the Premier League’s top six next season, according to reports.
While injuries have plagued the 28-year-old in recent years, Ings is a proven Premier League striker and managed to bag 12 goals last season for the Saints.
Now in the final year of his deal at St Mary’s, City – who have been linked with the England international in the past – could be tempted into making a bid for him.
Danny Ings could be in line for a shock switch to join Manchester City during the summer
DONYELL MALEN (PSV Eindhoven)
The former Arsenal academy graduate looks set for a big move away from PSV this summer after shining at the European Championship with Holland.
The 22-year-old scored 27 goals and created a further 10 for PSV during the 2020-21 season and is now being linked with the likes of Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund.
The pacy Dutchman may be a little raw compared to other names on this list but he is already being earmarked as one for the future and could be a cheaper and more viable option for City in this window.
Donyell Malen could be a suitable option for City but is already attracting a lot of attention
PAULO DYBALA (Juventus)
Another forward who’s deal expires in the summer of 2022, Dybala looks set for the exit at Juventus and has bundles of ability to really shine in the Premier League.
While the Argentine attacker endured a frustrating 2020-21 campaign – where he missed a significant portion of the season through injury and often struggled for form when he was fit – a change of scenery could be on the agenda for the centre forward.
While Juve are negotiating a new deal with the 27-year-old, a big enough offer could tempt the Italian giants into selling. City have been linked with the former Udinese man in the past but could reignite their interest before the window closes.
Juventus could be tempted into selling Paulo Dybala, whose deal expires in June 2022
TAMMY ABRAHAM (Chelsea)
It looks as if the writing is on the wall for Abraham at Stamford Bridge.
The England striker was frozen out by Thomas Tuchel last season, despite being one of the club’s top scorers, and Chelsea’s pursuit of Haaland would signal the end of any meaningful game time at the club.
Contracted to the Blues until the summer of 2023, Chelsea may be more willing to consider a loan move for the 23-year-old but would definitely move him on if they meet their £40m valuation of the striker.
Abraham has bags of potential and shown he has what it takes to perform at a top-six club.
Tammy Abraham’s time at Chelsea looks to be coming to an end this summer
ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE (Arsenal)
Maybe not the most desireable option but Lacazette could be a worth a punt considering he also has one year left on his deal.
While not quite as mobile as he used to be, the Frenchman can still cut it in the Premier League and has bags of experience to settle into a side like City’s.
He’s not getting any younger, though, and turns 31 next year so bringing in Lacazette may be more of a quick-fix for Guardiola as it stands.
Alexandre Lacazette’s Arsenal deal expires next summer and could leave in this window