Harry who? Cristiano who?
Manchester City made the perfect statement to their perceived failures in the transfer market over the past week with a 5-0 thumping of hapless Arsenal at the Etihad on Saturday, taking them — temporarily — top of the Premier League and showing their goals will continue to come from all areas.
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A crazy final week in the summer transfer window saw City miss out on Tottenham and England skipper Harry Kane as a direct replacement for Barcelona-bound striker Sergio Aguero, after Spurs chairman Daniel Levy’s over-excessive transfer demands saw City walk away.
Then a frenetic few days emerged, with Cristiano Ronaldo looking like the new arrival in a Sky Blue shirt. A phone call from Alex Ferguson reportedly turned CR7’s head and he opted for a return to Old Trafford. Again Pep Guardiola and his advisers chose to say thanks but no thanks, having been offered the Portuguese superstar for as little as 25 million pounds. A nightmare week for City, you may think.
Six days on from their five-goal thumping of relegation candidates Norwich, Guardiola’s current contingent had a statement to make against Arsenal. And make it they did.
Another five hit the net and all of a sudden, City are laughing — thinking about the fortunes saved on expensive players who bring no guarantees with them.
No need to splurge 150-million-pounds-plus on trophyless Harry Kane. No need to bring in salary-expensive last-minute replacement Cristiano Ronaldo, who is 36 and not getting any younger: We are fine thank you very much seems to be the motto from the Etihad.
Ten goals and nine different scorers by my count — including an unfortunate own-goal by Norwich’s goalkeeper Tim Krul — in the past two games.
City’s all-round effort claimed the Premier League title last season and got them to the Champions League final (eight players hit double figures for goals last season) without a recognised No. 9 striker. If anything, they seem to be sharing the joys even more this season. And, so far, this is without the injured mastermind Kevin de Bruyne or England’s brightest frontman Phil Foden contributing to the deluge.
United may be laughing at securing Ronaldo, but — with Jack Grealish also on the scoreboard and contributing assists for City — it remains to be seen who will be chuckling at the end of the season.