Manchester City are unlikely to sign a striker in the summer due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, manager Pep Guardiola said Friday.
City sparked rumors of a potential move for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland after announcing Monday that Sergio Aguero, the club's all-time leading scorer, will leave when his contract expires in June.
But Guardiola said City can't afford a replacement in the current market.
"With these prices, we are not going to buy any striker. It's impossible. We cannot afford it. It's impossible. So that is not going to happen," the 50-year-old said during Friday's press conference. "All the clubs are struggling financially. We are not an exception."
He added: "Today, there is more chance we are not going to buy a striker for the next season."
That would leave Gabriel Jesus as the only recognized center-forward in Guardiola's squad ahead of the 2021-22 campaign. Ferran Torres, a right-winger by trade, has played as a false nine on occasion, but Guardiola may have to call upon 18-year-old academy graduate Liam Delap, who's already made three appearances for the senior team.
Haaland is an obvious candidate to replace Aguero, especially given father Alf-Inge's connections to City, where he played from 2000 to 2003. But Dortmund reportedly value Haaland at around €180 million, a prohibitive figure even for a club of City's riches.
However, Haaland does have a €75-million release clause that becomes active in 2022.