Guardiola hails Lukaku impact as he admits Manchester City need a striker

Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea against Arsenal-22.08.2021
Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea against Arsenal-22.08.2021 - IMAGO / Offside Sports Photography

Pep Guardiola has hailed the quality of new Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku ahead of his side’s meeting with the Blues.

The Manchester City boss whose side travel to Stamford to face Chelsea on Saturday has also admitted that his side needs a top-quality striker like Lukaku next summer.

Speaking ahead of the game, Guardiola admitted that he cannot complain about the quality of his squad, but said he does not possess a ‘weapon’ like Lukaku.

“There are two options that we have right now: complaining or say we have exceptional players,” Guardiola said.

“These players have taken this club to another level and I’m still fascinated by the way they train, their commitment. That is enough for me.

“We don’t have this weapon that other teams have like Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham or other teams. We don’t have a player to score 25 league goals for himself, so we have to do it as a team. I cannot deny what a player Romelu Lukaku is.’

Guardiola has struggled against Chelsea in recent times, losing the last three meetings against the Blues–including the Champions League final. He will hope to avenge his losses and also avoid the unwanted record of losing against a single manager four times in a row.

But he faces the prospect of doing so without a recognised striker after they failed to sign a replacement for the departed Sergio Aguero. The only striker in their ranks—Gabriel Jesus, has requested to play from the wing this season.

Although they lifted the Premier League title last season without Aguero being heavily involved due to injury niggles, Guardiola has admitted that it is not always possible to ‘survive’ without a recognized striker.

“You will not hear me moaning for one single moment in this season that we don’t have this player, because the players that have been given to me by the club–what things they have given to us in recent years,” Guardiola added.

“We survived without Sergio in a good way, in the way we played. I think the club knows – and not for me – that it needs a striker in the next years. Sometimes it is possible, sometimes not because they’re the more expensive ones.”

City pursued Harry Kane in the summer, but could not land the striker after Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy refused to do business with the Etihad side. But they are now expected to pursue Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland next summer.