Former Arsenal and England forward Paul Merson has urged Manchester City to stump up the cash to sign Harry Kane and stop messing about.
City have been linked with the England skipper all summer after he declared his preference to leave Tottenham. Unsurprisingly, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has slapped a huge price tag on the striker. It is thought the north Londoners want £160, with City unwilling to match that value.
They are said to have offered £120m but even that is not enough. The situation has left Kane in limbo and he has yet to feature for the club this term.
Spurs managed to beat City in their season opener. Many pundits have pointed out that, despite the Citizens’ riches, they are still short of a genuine striker.
And, after witnessing the 1-0 loss to Nuno Espirito Santo’s men, Merson agrees.
“It hurts Manchester City because they obviously need him too,” he wrote in The Daily Star. “They don’t have a single world class centre forward and the league is more competitive than ever.”
Talk on Friday turned to City’s alternatives should they not manage to land Kane. Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic has been mentioned in connection with Pep Guardiola’s side, per Gazzetta dello Sport.
Ironically, the 21-year-old Serbia striker was also linked with Spurs. But Kane is the man that the Spanish tactician wants.
Kane reputation at stake
City need to sign a striker to replace the departed Sergio Aguero. There are other forwards on the market but Kane’s goalscoring record is right up there with the best.
He is also a model football, something Merson feels has been tarnished by recent events.
“It’s hurting Harry Kane too because his reputation is being dragged through the mud,” he added. “People always pointed to him as this perfect role model.
“The family man who never parties or steps out of line. But then he doesn’t show up for training and the fans are on his back.”
The Premier League champions entertain Norwich City on Saturday afternoon. They are strong favourites to register the first points of the new campaign.
But Merson believes victory will only mask the real problems at the Etihad.
“City can get away with it this weekend because they’re only playing Norwich,” he continued. “But they won’t get away with it forever. They’ve got to stop messing about and pay the price.”