The search for a striker continues for Manchester City. While the club could yet go back for Harry Kane this summer, it is widely believed that signing Erling Haaland is the most likely outcome.
But with so much competition for the Norwegian’s signature, the club is also looking at other alternatives. Thus signing Julian Alvarez in the January transfer window.
The Argentine’s acquisition is one of the steps taken to fill the void in the City attack. But there’s also a burgeoning option from the Academy.
Enter birthday boy Liam Delap.
When a manager like Pep Guardiola heaps praise on you at just the tender age of 19, even calling you a killer in front of goal, you know you are set for big things in the game.
For all those who are yet to be convinced of the youngster’s quality, his headed goal against Fulham in the FA Cup match, although disallowed, gives an indication of just how ruthless he can be in front of goal.
He has already demonstrated what the future holds with his performance in the youth ranks. Although players grow and change over time, his performance so far suggests he is the real deal.
Pep Guardiola’s recent comments add weight and act as confirmation of that assertion.
“Liam last season grew up a lot especially with (under-23 coach) Enzo Maresca helping him to develop. He is a type of striker we don’t have, a killer, typical British striker," Guardiola said.
“The only problem was injured and after injured and after injured, he struggled a lot with his ankles but he has a special quality.
“The (disallowed) goal is offside. OK, but he was there and it was a goal.”
For the City boss, it is clear that Delap has a future at the Etihad Stadium.
The numbers also backup Guardiola’s claims as the then 18-year-old was named the Premier League 2 Player of the Season for 2020/21 last June. That was after scoring a record 24 goals for PL2 champions, Manchester City.
With numbers like that, and at such a young age, only a catastrophic drop in form or performance could lead to a failure to become one of the best strikers in the world.
But if his development so far is anything to go by, the future is bright for the Winchester-born forward.
Manchester City may not have succeeded in signing Harry Kane, but a better than Harry Kane may yet emerge from the club’s very own Academy.
We can’t wait to watch him develop and take the reins in the City attack.
With the likes of James McAtee, Kayky, Luke Mbete, Romeo Lavia, Cole Palmer all developing and stepping up into the senior team alongside Delap, the future could be one of a fearsome Manchester City team. One that could dominate not only the Premier League but European football for the foreseeable future.