Wednesday, September 22, 2021

De Bruyne a City doubt as Guardiola dismisses Lewandowski questions

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 20 Aug 2021

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Pep Guardiola had no interest in discussing a potential move for Robert Lewandowski as Manchester City still wait to make a striker signing.

Guardiola was speaking at City’s news conference ahead of Saturday’s game against Norwich City, where he revealed Kevin De Bruyne is a doubt with an ankle issue.

Even without De Bruyne, City should have enough in creative areas against Norwich, having signed Jack Grealish for a British record £100million fee.

But Guardiola’s men remain light up front, with Sergio Aguero departing for Barcelona and a move for Harry Kane so far failing to come to fruition.

Reports this week of Lewandowski’s unhappiness at Bayern Munich, Guardiola’s former club, prompted questions about possible interest.

Lewandowski was at Bayern for just two of Guardiola’s three seasons but still trailed only Thomas Muller (79 and 115) for goals (67) and goal involvements (79) during the Catalan coach’s tenure.

It might be an effective link-up, but Guardiola does not anticipate Lewandowski heading to the Premier League any time soon.

“Next question,” he replied, as the news conference opened on Lewandowski. “Listen, Lewy is a so important player for Bayern Munich. He will stay in Bayern Munich.

“I’m not going to talk to you and your colleagues today, with 11 days left, about the transfer market. I don’t know what’s going to happen, nobody knows.

“Tomorrow we have a game, prepare the Arsenal game when we finish. When we come back after the international break, we’ll have all the squad to fight for every game in the season.”

Even if neither Kane nor an alternative like Lewandowski were signed, Guardiola would be “more than happy” with his City squad.

“It’s the same team, except Sergio for Jack Grealish, that we had last season,” he explained.

Asked about team news for the Norwich game, Guardiola initially said there was “no news, good news” before a specific query about De Bruyne.

“Kevin couldn’t train today, so there is news,” he said. “He couldn’t train today, a little disturbance, so we will see tomorrow if he can play or not.”

City lost their season opener 1-0 at Tottenham and only rivals Manchester United (in 1992-93, 1995-96 and 2012-13) have previously won the Premier League title after being beaten in their first match.

The reigning champions have lost their past three games in all competitions 1-0, part of a run of five defeats in seven, as many as in their previous 56 matches.

Were that miserable run to continue against Norwich, though, it would be unprecedented for a Guardiola side, as he has never seen a team lose four in a row or go four without scoring.

City last lost four straight in August 2006 and have not lost four without reply since March 1986.

Guardiola certainly is not worrying yet, adding: “We have 111 points to play, 37 games.

“I cannot deny I would have preferred to have three points, but tomorrow we have the challenge to win the first three.

“We have to win games, of course, if we want to be there close to the top of the league, but it’s the second fixture.

“Many games and many things are going to happen this season. What I would like to see is the team getting better.”

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