City Football Group have been chasing a singular prize for some time now. Despite all the trophies they have put in the case since first purchasing Manchester City in 2008, the one piece of silverware they most covet still eludes them. The UEFA Champions League title is the most sought-after honor in European Club football, and the one puzzle Man City can’t quite solve.
This past season saw City come closer than ever to topping the European mountain. The Sky Blues made the final for the first time in club history. The club finally erased the recent sting of quarter-final exits, only to fall to Chelsea 1-0 in Porto. In fact, Thomas Tuchel’s side bested City in three successive games in three separate competitions over the span of six weeks. The aggregate score of those matches? Chelsea 4 – 1 Man City.
City were dominant throughout 2020-21 against all teams but their rivals from London. Tuchel’s tactics and the quality of Chelsea’s players exposed the only glaring hole in Pep Guardiola’s group. The lack of a top-level goal-scoring threat proved to be what did City in against the Blues. With Sergio Aguero in poor health, and Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling mostly absent from the score sheet, City lacked the punch to fulfill ownership’s mandate.
MCFC have used this transfer window to add bite to an already formidable attacking midfield with the mega-signing of England star Jack Grealish from Aston Villa. Now they are trying to pry Grealish’s Three Lions teammate Harry Kane away from Tottenham Hotspur. City were also rumored to be considering moves for Borussia Dortmund’s Eric Haaland and Bundesliga Golden Boot winner Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich.
With the transfer window winding down in a few weeks and reports today that City are preparing a €150 million bid, Pep and Director of Football Txiki Begiristain are said to be laser-focused on Kane as their man at the front. Kane is a three-time winner of the Golden Boot, and he captained England to their first final in a major tournament since 1966. There is no doubt he knows how to perform at the highest levels of football.
City managed to run away with the Premier League last season utilizing a false nine setup. They employed Phil Foden, Kevin DeBruyne, Bernardo Silva, and Ilkay Gundogan in the role to great success. Most clubs were unable to make the lack of a true number 9 hurt City, but one did. The one that stole their prize away from them. Will this be the season that Manchester City finally crack the Champions League code? Will Harry Kane be the reason why?