Saturday, January 28, 2023

Manchester City Identify Two In-Form ‘Number 9s’ As Haaland’s Alternative: Smart From Guardiola?

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Pratyay Maitra
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Hefty transfer spending has been the only constant ever since Pep Guardiola got appointed as the Manchester City chief, and according to Mail’s Dominic King (as claimed by SI), they are keeping close tabs on Andre Silva and Lautaro Martinez as the back-up of summer target Erling Haaland.

The Norwegian’s outrageous goalscoring record with Borussia Dortmund has made him one of the most sought-after names ahead of the upcoming window. His father, Alf-Inge, had a stint with the Citizens during his playing days and the 20-year-old’s super-agent Mino Raiola is reportedly in contact with an array of high-profile European outfits including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Liverpool as well as both the Manchester clubs.

While the Skyblues are ready to flex their financial muscle-power, the striking sensation is prioritizing the ‘ambition of the project’ over the wages he would be offered. All the suitors are in need of a prolific ‘number 9’ and the tainted relationship between Guardiola and Raiola might eventually jeopardize Haaland’s Etihad transfer.

Manchester City target Andre Silva in action for Portugal
Andre Silva of Portugal during warm up before the FIFA World Cup, WM, Weltmeisterschaft, Fussball Qatar 2022 qualification Group A match between Portugal and Azerbaijan at Allianz Stadium Turin Italy on 24 March 2021. Turin Allianz Stadium Turin Italy Copyright: xMarcoxCanonierox SP24-4

Iconic Sergio Aguero won’t be there at the club next season after a decade-long service and the urgency of splashing the cash is justified as they would love to have someone capable of emulating the Argentine’s success in the blue half of Manchester. They, therefore, have identified a list of alternatives and both Silva and Martinez ticks many boxes considering their impressive run with Eintracht Frankfurt and Inter Milan respectively.

Why The Pair With Exquisite Numbers Would Shine At Manchester City 

Silva, 25, is finally hitting the standards he set at Porto a few years back and has already found the net 21 times along with 5 assists in 24 Bundesliga appearances this term. He had a 16-goal 2019-20 campaign [stats via Transfermarket] on loan from Sevilla which convinced the Hesse-based outfit to make the Portuguese’s deal permanent last summer. He might be on the move once more if the majestic form continues with Frankfurt who are incredibly contesting for a Champions League berth.

Martinez, on the other hand, resembles Aguero from many aspects. The 23-year-old Argentine is only 5 ft 9 but is known for his sharpness inside the box. He has scored 14 goals and laid on 8 more in 27 Serie A outings [stats via Transfermarket] and the numbers are highly fascinating with Inter leading the Scudetto race ahead of arch-rivals AC Milan and Juventus. A €22.7m summer move (back in 2018) from hometown club Racing is proving to be a masterstroke by the Nerazzurri and the signing of the La Albiceleste international would bring back the Kun Aguero vibes days after his Etihad exit.

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