Pep Guardiola accepts it is “impossible” for Manchester City to sign a big-money replacement striker for Sergio Aguero this summer.
And the City boss will not complain if the Premier League leaders do not bring in a new centre forward at all.
The announcement this week that Aguero, City’s record goalscorer, is to leave the club at the end of the season has intensified speculation linking them with Borussia Dortmund’s prolific Erling Haaland.
Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe of Paris St Germain have also been mentioned but all three could command a fee well over £100million.
Guardiola feels that is just not realistic in today’s pandemic-hit financial climate.
“Listen, with these prices we are not going to sign any striker,” said Guardiola. “It’s impossible – we cannot afford it.
“All the clubs struggle financially and we are not an exception. Maybe we are going to buy one but today there is more chance we are not going to buy any striker.
“I understand completely the situation of the club. We are not going to do any specific or special thing that the club cannot do.
“I’ve always been OK with the team, even in the first season when we didn’t win. I understand when the club tell me we can do it or if they say we can’t do it.
“The most important thing is the club has to be sustainable for the next five or 10 years. We never spend, on one player, big, big figures.
“I think this is what we’ll continue to do in the next years because everything is so difficult right now.
“So when I hear that we are going to buy four strikers for ‘this’ amount of money, this is not going to happen. It’s impossible, and when that happens we are going to stay with the players that we have.”
City have actually had to cope without a specialist centre forward for large parts of this season due to the fitness problems of Aguero and Gabriel Jesus.
As they remain in contention for an unprecedented quadruple heading into the final stages of the season, it is clearly something they have adapted well to.
Guardiola said: “We have Gabriel and Ferran (Torres), who played incredibly in this position this season.
“We have young players in the Academy and we have played many times with a false nine.”
Nevertheless, Guardiola admits the departure of Aguero, who has scored 257 goals for the club, will create a huge void.
“Maybe we could find a new player to replace Sergio in terms of numbers but it is almost impossible to replace him in terms of what he means to this club,” he said.
As for Haaland, who will actually be at the Etihad Stadium as City face Dortmund in the Champions League quarter-finals next week and whose dad Alfie played for the club, Guardiola was unwilling to comment.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Saturday’s game with Leicester, Guardiola said: “I am not going to talk about any names of anyone at another club. It would not be polite to Dortmund or Haaland. It’s not my business.
“These players we have here deserve much respect from their manager. If I was a player who hears a manager speaking about other players, I would say, ‘What the **** are you doing?’
“Never in five years have I spoken about another player from another club. Never, ever.”