Pep Guardiola has made it clear that young striker Liam Delap will stay with Manchester City this season regardless of whether Harry Kane arrives.
The Kane saga has dragged on all summer, with City keen to snare the England skipper from Tottenham. But price is the issue, with the north Londoners holding out for around £160m. The Premier League champions seem willing to part with £120m but Daniel Levy is playing hardball.
Kane’s delayed return to the Spurs ranks caused a media outcry. But he made his season debut in a 1-0 victory over Wolves on Sunday.
The transfer window closes at the end of August and that will be it until January. The issue may raise its head once more but it will not affect a City starlet.
Delap swapped the Derby County youth set-up for City’s and spent the 2019-2020 campaign playing for the club’s Under-18 side. He impressed, with seven goals from 11 appearances.
But that was nothing compared to his debut season for the Under-23s in Premier League 2. The son of former Republic of Ireland international Rory Delap found the net 24 times in 20 outings.
He has made three appearances for the City first team. And the talented forward scored on his debut in a Carabao Cup clash against Bournemouth in September 2020.
There were rumours that Delap was to be loaned out for the season. He is currently recovering from a pre-season foot injury.
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And Guardiola was quick to point out that any incoming players will have no bearing on his youth stars.
“He’s going to train with us if a striker comes or doesn’t come, he’s going to train with us all the season,” he said. “Him and Cole Palmer, [James] McAtee, [Luke] Mbete, Romeo Lavia.
“There are five or six players who will be with us the whole season.”
Delap tipped for big things
Delap’s goalscoring success for the reserves alerted a number of clubs looking for a loan deal. He committed his future to the Citizens last week by penning a new contract until the summer of 2026.
“It’s obviously a massive achievement for me,” he told mancity.com at the time. “I am so happy. I have been here now for two years and every day I have loved it. I have just loved the place and all the people. I can’t wait to do even more.”
Guardiola is happy to have his youngsters remain at the club and feels it will benefit them in the long run.
“It’s the best way to help their development because the problem in the academies today here in England, the distance between the first team competition in the Premier League and the competition they play is too big,” he added.
“It’s really big and it’s difficult to promote them from here. That’s the best way with the players we believe have potential.”